Slavery Essays

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Congress further outlawed slavery in federal territories in June 1862.In addition to reiterating his support for gradual emancipation in the loyal states, the draft proclamation declared that as of January 1, 1863, "all persons held as slaves within any state or states, wherein the constitutional authority of the United States shall not then be practically recognized, submitted to, and maintained, shall then, thenceforward, and forever, be free." Whereas the Confiscation Acts freed the slaves of individual owners who demonstrated disloyalty, Lincoln's proclamation freed slaves of all owners residing in geographic areas engaged in rebellion as "a fit and necessary military measure." The reaction of Lincoln's cabinet members was mixed. Stanton, correctly interpreting the proclamation as a military measure designed both to deprive the Confederacy of slave labor and bring additional men into the Union army, advocated its immediate release.Attorney General Edward Bates, a conservative, opposed civil and political equality for blacks but gave his support.Once again, Lincoln felt compelled to overrule a commander who overstepped his authority with regard to emancipation.Although in revoking Hunter's action, Lincoln suggested that the power to determine such military necessities belonged to the president.He also worried about the reactions of those in the loyal border states where slavery was still legal.Lincoln is said to have summed up the importance of keeping the border states in the Union by saying "I hope to have God on my side, but I must have Kentucky." Events early in the war quickly forced Northern authorities to address the issue of emancipation.In May 1861, just a month into the war, three slaves (Frank Baker, Shepard Mallory, and James Townsend) owned by Confederate Colonel Charles K.Mallory escaped from Hampton, Virginia, where they had been put to work on behalf of the Confederacy, and sought protection within Union-held Fortress Monroe before their owner sent them further south. Mallory demanded their return under the Fugitive Slave Law, Union General Benjamin F.Welles feared the unintended consequences of emancipation, but remained silent, as did Interior secretary Caleb Smith.Postmaster General Montgomery Blair foresaw defeat in the fall elections and opposed the proclamation. Chase supported the measure, which he noted in his diary went further than his own recommendations, but his tepid enthusiasm for the proclamation was surprising given his history as an outspoken opponent of slavery.

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