Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Emancipation Proclamation

Truly, this is hard to read, but this is a photo of the Actual Emancipation Proclamation.
A transcript appears below the jump.

The Emancipation Proclamation is one of Lincoln's actions which many find ironic. He freed slaves only in states that had seceded from the Union, and left slavery alone in states which remained in the United States of America. Many have said "Lincoln freed slaves where he had no jurisdiction, and left alone the ones he could say something about."

Any diplomat could tell you that the deliberate use (or avoidance) of certain words conveys an acceptance (or refusal to accept) a political condition. We scrutinize our leaders for slips of the tongue in this regard. It seems to come up nowadays most often in reference to some blundering American phrase to a representative from China.

Lincoln wanted to preserve the Union, and sent troops to make sure that it was preserved. It would be fatal to the Cause of Union to abdicate the Presidency of any of the states that had seceded. In other words, Lincoln continually asserted that he had legal jurisdiction over the seceding states. Force was used--the force of what Lincoln would have called legitimate government--to bring those states to acknowledge the Union that in his mind (or in his official stance at least), they had never left.

You can argue that these states left. The point is, Lincoln could not afford to agree that they had. Had he agreed, there would have been no war, and no Union.

The Emancipation Proclamation

January 1, 1863

By the President of the United States of America:

A Proclamation.

Whereas, on the twenty-second day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, a proclamation was issued by the President of the United States, containing, among other things, the following, to wit:
"That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.
"That the Executive will, on the first day of January aforesaid, by proclamation, designate the States and parts of States, if any, in which the people thereof, respectively, shall then be in rebellion against the United States; and the fact that any State, or the people thereof, shall on that day be, in good faith, represented in the Congress of the United States by members chosen thereto at elections wherein a majority of the qualified voters of such State shall have participated, shall, in the absence of strong countervailing testimony, be deemed conclusive evidence that such State, and the people thereof, are not then in rebellion against the United States."
Now, therefore I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, by virtue of the power in me vested as Commander-in-Chief, of the Army and Navy of the United States in time of actual armed rebellion against the authority and government of the United States, and as a fit and necessary war measure for suppressing said rebellion, do, on this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and in accordance with my purpose so to do publicly proclaimed for the full period of one hundred days, from the day first above mentioned, order and designate as the States and parts of States wherein the people thereof respectively, are this day in rebellion against the United States, the following, to wit:

Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, (except the Parishes of St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. James Ascension, Assumption, Terrebonne, Lafourche, St. Mary, St. Martin, and Orleans, including the City of New Orleans) Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia, (except the forty-eight counties designated as West Virginia, and also the counties of Berkley, Accomac, Northampton, Elizabeth City, York, Princess Ann, and Norfolk, including the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth[)], and which excepted parts, are for the present, left precisely as if this proclamation were not issued.

And by virtue of the power, and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be free; and that the Executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons.

And I hereby enjoin upon the people so declared to be free to abstain from all violence, unless in necessary self-defence; and I recommend to them that, in all cases when allowed, they labor faithfully for reasonable wages.

And I further declare and make known, that such persons of suitable condition, will be received into the armed service of the United States to garrison forts, positions, stations, and other places, and to man vessels of all sorts in said service.

And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution, upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind, and the gracious favor of Almighty God.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this first day of
January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty three, and of the Independence of the
United States of America the eighty-seventh.

By the President: ABRAHAM LINCOLN
WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.

[References: Library of Congress for Facsimile; USInfo.gov for transcript.]


Christopher said...

Being a realist, I look to the advantage of the proclamation for the Union, rather than the assumption altruistic motives were at the heart of the matter. Was it, perhaps, to cause a slave uprising, further complicating the position of the South? Was it catering to abolitionists in his party? I'm sure wiser people than me have come up with better theories.

Clearly, though, it was a tactical move. I just don't see idealism at play here.

BobKat said...

Hi Ann T.

Interesting. One could wonder what politics we brought from colonial England? We often refer to our issues as being Puritan, but I think we brought a lot more bagage than accounted for.

Coincidentally, I just posted an historic image of Lincoln's Emanicipation Proclamation, on my blog.

Always looking for new insight. Thanks.


Slamdunk said...

Interesting start Ann T.

It is certainly a difficult call to determine whether the Emancipation was issued as something that Lincoln had wanted to do all along or as a tactic to gain support necessary pursue his other interests.

I found this Lincoln quote from 1848 relevant:

"Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up and shake off the existing government and to form one that suits them better. Nor is this right confined to cases in which the people of an existing government may choose to exercise it.

Any portion of such people that can, may make their own of such territory as they inhabit.

More than this, a majority of any portion of such people may revolutionize, putting down a minority intermingling with or near them who oppose their movement."

I wonder if he had a change of heart 13 years later or it was simply an example of him understanding tatical importance of positions early in his political aspirations.

Ann T. said...

Dear Christopher,
As you noted earlier, no government decision can be made in isolation from the many interests and concerns surrounding the decision-makers.

This document calls also for Congressional elections, in other words, for a return to Congress of missing delegations--an alternate governance from the CSA. So two acts that undermined the seceded states.

So Yes, it was tactical. As a Realist--you would naturally do nothing to upset those to whom you were allied in common defense. So it does make perfect sense in that political philosophy and I am much of your mind.

It also gives orders to the military to suppress no bid for freedom. That slaves be paid for their labors and to garrison forts, etc. That the former slaves keep order.

This prevents the military from substituting as a new "Master" which is a preventive and perhaps a foreshadowing of some of Lincoln's intentions. Or, not. We'll never know.

And in the end, "Upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice"--not full justice, but some--can it be that Lincoln's feelings, as they did so often in his speeches--creep out anyway?

I think maybe a statesmen sometimes gets a win-win. It may be that the proclamation was able to resolve conscience and strategy at once. If only it happened that way more often.

I do believe Lincoln put strategy first.

Great comment. Thank you.
Ann T.

Ann T. said...

Dear BobKat,
England abolished slavery only after 1843--a generation earlier--and has never let us forget it, either. The conditions in Britain were already favorable to cheap labor with a large landless class. plus their colonies.

There no saintly nation on earth, in history or the present day.

As to your post--I had always assumed that those leaves were Laurel leaves, as in 'honor', so that was a new one!

I will say that Lincoln's law partner was carouser whom Lincoln frequently had to bail out and to whom he gave a small lecture once. (Ref: Shelby Foote). Temperance societies did call on Lincoln when president (ref: Library of America), so I think his drug of choice was definitely coffee. . . I understand he drank a lot of it, too!

Thanks for popping in!
Ann T.

Ann T. said...

Dear Slamdunk,
Wow, WHAT a comment! I was completely flummoxed by this quote. I had to hit the books to try for an answer.

Because the year was 1848, I wondered if the quote was in regard to the Mexican War, and indeed it was. Lincoln was against that war--when he was in the U.S. Congress he was part of the Whig contingent that wanted President Polk to say where the battle began: in Texas, in Mexico, or in the 'no man's land' (as he delineated) between the Rio Grande and the Nueces River. The context of the remarks I think refers to the wishes of those who were under jurisdiction of neither Mexico nor the U.S. ( http://www.animatedatlas.com/mexwar/lincoln2.html ). Whoever lived between the Nueces and Rio Grande had not Said that they wanted to be Texan/U.S. or Mexican.

So I think Lincoln may have been saying we were there without consent of the governed, not even assisting them in a revolutionary dream of their own. Instead, we were there to advance imperialism and gain more slave territory.

Be that as it may, it does seem a stunning comment. Shelby Foote seems to think that Lincoln was put off by insurrection in 'Bloody Kansas'/Missouri conflicts that came out of the Kansas-Nebraska Bill of 1854 (self-determination). Foote does not use this in this context though--but perhaps it's still germane.

Lincoln also deplored, I believe privately, John Brown's next huge adventure at Harper's Ferry. And he argued with Douglas over 'popular sovereignty'.

So, I don't know, for sure . . . I suspect Lincoln's opinion moved over the course of the next years, but I also do not doubt that he was very much a long-term thinker.

Thanks for this great comment,
Ann T.

Bob G. said...

My take on the Emancipation Proclamation is probably too simplistic.
I feel that Licon DID want to preserve the UNION...and that this was the lesser of two evils.
Fortunately, it worked out up North (where slavery had been all BUT abolished for quite some time), but the South didn't think it wise to do so, and compromise their "industries".
Union be damned.
(Just my 2 cents.)

Good comments, too by all.

Ann T. said...

Dear bob,
I think you may be right. The big problem with abolishing slavery in the North though, was the middle states such as Kentucky, that Lincoln felt he needed.

Emancipating the slaves did create disorder behind the CSA ranks--or, more accurately perhaps, make it even harder for the CSA to take occupied land back.

Thanks for stopping in! I think we could get together and write a darn fine book, the way this is going!

Ann T.

Slamdunk said...

Thanks for your insight on the comment Ann T. Your response providing some probable context to the comment is important--as I did not have it to begin with.

The Observer said...

Ann T:
I have to admit that my grasp of the history of the time leading up to the civil war is not great. Either I've forgotten every thing I learned or I was never taught it.

I do know that things got extremely ugly out here in MO-KAN with exchanges of killings, burnings and at least one sacked city. (Lawrence, KS)

It's interesting that Missouri is not named as a state against the Feds. I'd have to check my dates--maybe Mo wasn't a state yet...

Good stuff. Maybe it's time to repair my history gap. Any books you'd recommend?

The Observer

Ann T. said...

Dear Slamdunk,
That quote you gave was one far outside my experience of Lincoln. It was great! Thank you!

Ann T.

Ann T. said...

Dear The Observer,
I almost wish The Bug's Dr. M would write in to give you the best text. My feeling on the Civil War (and WW2) is that you could read every minute and not get to every book.

That said, I was Very Interested in the Jayhawkers and the Kansas Militias at one time.

I have War to the Knife by Thomas Goodrich (Bleeding Kansas, 1854-1861) which forever made me think John Brown's Body was a-moldering exactly where it belonged. I'm pretty sure that wasn't Goodrich's main point though--just a consequence of Brown's extremism getting to me. It also talks about the other famous abolitionists who bankrolled Brown (Shelby Foote also mentions this). The Goodrich book talks about Lawrence I believe.

Then Stephen Z. Starr at LSU wrote Jennison's Jayhawkers, an out of control regiment from Kansas that raided Missouri and invited raids back, incl. Lawrence. (Starr also wrote a 3 vol set, but the one is probably good enough, right!) Jennison's guys were then inculcated into the Union Army and exceedingly hard to command b/c they loved pillage the best.

I used them to write Westerns--
Jesse James and his ilk are directly out of that experience.

Whoa, my epic,
Ann T.