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Abraham Lincoln, Slavery, and Abolition

To read in the Bible, as the word of God himself,
that ďIn the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread,Ē and to preach therefrom
that ďIn the sweat of other mans
[sic] faces shalt thou eat bread,Ē
to my mind can scarcely be reconciled with honest sincerity.

Abraham Lincoln to George Ide, et al.

 

 

All language in this article which appears in italics is the verbatim language, either written or spoken,
used by Lincoln.  Many if not all of these quotations can be found at "The Lincoln Log: A Daily Chronology of the Life of Abraham Lincoln" compiled by the Lincoln Sesquicentennial Commission and available at http://www.thelincolnlog.org/.

  

This article is comprised of the following sections:

 

Introduction

The Illinois Years

The Presidential Years

Frederick Douglass - Friend of Lincoln

Conclusion

   

 

Introduction

 

Lincolnís passions for liberty and sincerity, expressed in his 30 May 1864 letter to George Ide and others, seem to be the essence of his view of slavery.  How he truly felt about the black race, however, and how he acted or intended to act upon his view of slavery, have been a matter of debate.  He has been described as both the Great Emancipator and a racist bigot.

 

A careful comparison of his various statements and actions, both official and unofficial, reveals a flawed but principled man who viewed slavery as an evil against humanity and against God, but blacks and whites as being so inherently different as to preclude their living together in a society of equality.  He nevertheless strove, to the best of his understanding, to do all and only what was lawful and good in order to secure an end to slavery.

 

While his paramount objective in conducting the Civil War was to preserve the Union, he in fact worked throughout his adult life to procure freedom, and eventually to provide a measure of equality, for blacks in America.  His first steps were small and restricted by his firm conviction that Congress had no power under the Constitution to prohibit slavery within the States.  He sought instead to have slavery end through a process that would neither infringe on States' rights nor cripple the country economically.

 

Thus, Lincoln promoted and worked toward two anti-slavery goals: (1) preventing the extension of slavery into U.S. territories; and (2) colonization, by which slaves were to be purchased from their owners and reestablished as free people in their homeland or another country of their choice.  Two specific acts as President stand out.  First, though he did and would continue to pardon many Union deserters, Confederate officers and soldiers, and other persons convicted of aiding the Confederacy, he refused to pardon the only slave trader ever prosecuted under American law.  Second, he at last abolished slavery in America when he came to believe it was God's will for the time and a necessary means to preserve the Union, which he perceived under the Constitution could be broken only by consent of all the States. [See 1861 re: inaugural address.]

 

There is also some difference of opinion as to whether Lincoln ever wavered in his convictions or changed his stand on slavery and abolition.  What the record shows is that: (1) his efforts on behalf of free territories began as early as the year 1837 and colonization in 1845, and on these he never wavered; and (2) the only changes in his position concerned, first, whether there should be any federal action, by either Congress or himself as President, to abolish slavery; and second, whether blacks should have the right to vote.  That Lincoln believed slavery to be wrong was demonstrated often and clearly throughout his lifetime and claimed by himself to have always been the case.

 

The Illinois Years

 

1837

 

As a member of the Illinois House of Delegates, Lincoln along with Daniel Stone proposed an amendment to a House Resolution dealing with slavery and abolition.  The Resolution stated that, while Congress had the power to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia (which of course was and is not a State), Congress should in fact do nothing.  Lincoln and Stone wished to add the language, unless the people of said district petition for the same.1/

 

The proposed revision was rejected, and the Resolution passed without the added language.  In response, Lincoln and Stone presented a formal protest which stated, in part, They believe the institution of slavery to be founded on both injustice and bad policy ...2/

 

Two years later, the Illinois Legislature again addressed the question of slavery.

 

1839

 

Joined now by a majority of the Illinois House, Lincoln voted to table certain resolutions that would have declared that Congress should not abolish slavery in the District of Columbia or the U.S. Territories and should not prohibit slave trade between the States.3/  The importation of slaves into the States had already been declared illegal as of 1 January 1808 in a bill signed by Thomas Jefferson.  Such prohibition had in fact been allowed for in the U.S. Constitution, and the proposed resolutions were in direct contradiction to the intention of the founding fathers and certain other federal laws passed as early as 1798.  At the same time, the Constitution allowed the individual States to abolish slavery at any time, which by 1806 all existing States but South Carolina had done.  Unfortunately, however, a number of southern States later repealed the abolition, and the federal prohibition of the slave trade was never enforced until 1861.

 

In the meantime, Lincoln began to promote colonization while opposing the extension of slavery into U.S. Territories.

 

1845

 

On 3 January 1845, Lincoln and his wife were "doubtless among 400 attending party" who met in the Illinois State House to form a State colonization society.4/  As later reported, the purpose of colonization societies was to promote and accomplish the purchase and resettling of slaves as free men in Africa,5/ and Lincoln was its speaker on at least one occasion.6/

 

On 3 October 1845, Lincoln wrote to one Williamson Durley outlining certain of his political views.  Among them, he explained that he supported States' rights as a necessary component of liberty itself but also opposed the extension of slavery into U.S. Territories: 

 

... It is possibly true, to some extent, that with annexation, some slaves may be sent to Texas [not yet a State] and continued in slavery, that otherwise might have been liberated. To whatever extent this may be true, I think annexation an evil. I hold it to be a paramount duty of us in the free states, due to the Union of the states, and perhaps to liberty itself (paradox though it may seem) to let the slavery of the other states alone; while, on the other hand, I hold it to be equally clear, that we should never knowingly lend ourselves directly or indirectly, to prevent that slavery from dying a natural death -- [nor] to find new places for it to live in, when it can no longer exist in the old.7/

 

1848

 

In Lincoln's second year as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, he voted in favor of a Resolution instructing the House Committee on Territories to report a bill providing territorial governments, and excluding slavery, in the territories of California and New Mexico.8/

 

l The Resolution passed, but a motion was quickly presented to reconsider.  Lincoln voted against the motion, and the Resolution stood, paving the way for slavery to be excluded from California and New Mexico.9/

 

1849

 

In Lincoln's third year as a Congressman, he offered an amendment to a House Resolution concerning slavery in the District of Columbia.  Lincoln's amendment would have provided that children born to slave mothers after 1 January 1850 would be considered free, but would be reasonably supported and educated, by the respective owners of their mothers or by their heirs or representatives, and [would] owe reasonable service, as apprentices, to such owners, heirs and representatives until they respectively arrive at the age of __ years when they shall be entirely free.  [Emphasis added; age of emancipation blank, apparently leaving it open to discussion in the House.]10/

 

Unfortunately, Lincoln's amendment was rejected.  A few days later, he attempted to introduce a bill to completely abolish slavery in the District of Columbia.11/  It too was rejected, and eighteen days later he voted against a bill which merely prohibited slave trade in the District, perhaps hoping still to achieve abolition there or wanting no part of an unsatisfactory measure.12/

 

1852

 

At the death of Henry Clay, Lincoln was asked to present a eulogy.  Noting that Clay was one of the earliest members of the American Colonization Society, Lincoln spoke of the danger of slavery:

 

Pharaoh's country was cursed with plagues, and his hosts were drowned in the Red Sea for striving to retain a captive people who had already served them more than four hundred years. May like disasters never befall us! If as the friends of colonization hope, the present and coming generations of our countrymen shall by any means, succeed in freeing our land from the dangerous presence of slavery; and, at the same time, in restoring a captive people to their long-lost father-land, with bright prospects for the future; and this too, so gradually, that neither races nor individuals shall have suffered by the change, it will indeed be a glorious consummation.13/

 

Lincoln shared Clay's hope that "returning to Africa her children" with "the rich fruits of religion, civilization, law, and liberty" would "transform an original crime [slavery], into a signal blessing to that most unfortunate portion of the globe."14/

 

1854

 

During the 1854 campaign season in Illinois, Lincoln organized his thoughts by composing several pages of "Fragments," two of which opposed slavery.  Following are excerpts from the two:

 

Most governments have been based, practically, on the denial of equal rights of men, as I have, in part, stated them; ours began, by affirming those rights. ... We proposed to give all a chance; and we expected the weak to grow stronger, the ignorant, wiser; and all better, and happier together.  [Emphasis added]15/

 

If A. can prove, however conclusively, that he may, of right, enslave B. -- why may not B. snatch the same argument, and prove equally, that he may enslave A? -- You say A. is white, and B. is black.  It is color, then; the lighter, having the right to enslave the darker?  Take care.  By this rule, you are to be slave to the first man you meet, with a fairer skin than your own.  You do not mean color exactly? -- You mean the whites are intellectually the superiors of the blacks, and, therefore have the right to enslave them?  Take care again.  By this rule, you are to be slave to the first man you meet, with an intellect superior to your own.16/

 

The political scene was heating up as many, not content with being permitted slaves in the southern States, clamored for the supposed "right" to establish slavery in the Territories.

 

A few months later, in a debate with Stephen Douglas in Peoria, Illinois, Lincoln said, in part:

This declared indifference, but as I must think, covert real zeal for the spread of slavery, I can not but hate. I hate it because of the monstrous injustice of slavery itself. ... I object to it because the fathers of the republic eschewed, and rejected it. ... they cast blame upon the British King for having permitted its introduction. BEFORE the constitution, they prohibited its introduction into the north-western Territory -- the only country we owned, then free from it. At the framing and adoption of the constitution, they forbore to so much as mention the word 'slave' or 'slavery' in the whole instrument. In the provision for the recovery of fugitives, the slave is spoken of as a 'PERSON HELD TO SERVICE OR LABOR.' In prohibiting the abolition of the African slave trade for twenty years, that trade is spoken of as 'The migration or importation of such persons as any of the States NOW EXISTING, shall think proper to admit,' &c. These are the only provisions alluding to slavery. Thus, the thing is hid away, in the constitution, just as an afflicted man hides away a wen or a cancer, which he dares not cut out at once, lest he bleed to death; with the promise, nevertheless, that the cutting may begin at the end of a given time. ... But this is not all. The earliest Congress, under the constitution, took the same view of slavery. They hedged and hemmed it in to the narrowest limits of necessity.17/ 

Lincoln then recited six separate Acts of Congress passed in the years 1794, 1798, 1800, 1803, 1807 and 1820, which first restricted and then prohibited the slave trade, and finally provided the penalty of death for the same.*  He then went on to say:

Thus we see, the plain unmistakable spirit of that age, towards slavery, was hostility to the PRINCIPLE, and toleration, ONLY BY NECESSITY. But NOW it is to be transformed into a "sacred right".

*Those Acts, as recited by Lincoln, are these:

"In 1794, they prohibited an out-going slave-trade -- that is, the taking of slaves FROM the United States to sell.

"In 1798, they prohibited the bringing of slaves from Africa, INTO the Mississippi Territory -- this territory then comprising what are now the States of Mississippi and Alabama. This was TEN YEARS before they had the authority to do the same thing as to the States existing at the adoption of the constitution.

"In 1800 they prohibited AMERICAN CITIZENS from trading in slaves between foreign countries -- as, for instance, from Africa to Brazil.

"In 1803 they passed a law in aid of one or two State laws, in restraint of the internal slave trade.

"In 1807, in apparent hot haste, they passed the law, nearly a year in advance to take effect the first day of 1808 -- the very first day the constitution would permit -- prohibiting the African slave trade by heavy pecuniary and corporal penalties.

"In 1820, finding these provisions ineffectual, they declared the trade piracy, and annexed to it, the extreme penalty of death.  While all this was passing in the general government, five or six of the original slave States had adopted systems of gradual emancipation; and by which the institution was rapidly becoming extinct within these limits.

 

1855

 

Even more clearly, perhaps, than in the Peoria debate, Lincoln's opposition to slavery was expressed in an 1855 letter to his pro-slavery friend Joshua Speed.  Therein, he passionately demonstrated that his abhorrence of slavery was tempered by his adherence to the Constitution:

 

You know I dislike slavery; and you fully admit the abstract wrong of it. ... you say that sooner than yield your legal right to the slave -- especially at the bidding of those who are not themselves interested, you would see the Union dissolved.  I am not aware that any one is bidding you to yield that right; very certainly I am not.  I leave that matter entirely to yourself.  I also acknowledge your rights and my obligations, under the constitution, in regard to your slaves.  I confess I hate to see the poor creatures* hunted down, and caught, and carried back to their stripes, and unrewarded toils; but I bite my lip and keep quiet. ... In 1841 you and I had together a tedious low-water trip, on a Steam Boat from Louisville to St. Louis.  You may remember, as I well do, that from Louisville to the mouth of the Ohio there were, on board, ten or a dozen slaves, shackled together with irons.  That sight was a continual torment to me; and I see something like it every time I touch the Ohio, or any other slave-border.  It is hardly fair for you to assume, that I have no interest in a thing which has, and continually exercises, the power of making me miserable.  You ought rather to appreciate how much the great body of the Northern people do crucify their feelings, in order to maintain their loyalty to the constitution and the Union.

I do oppose the extension of slavery, because my judgment and feelings so prompt me; and I am under no obligation to the contrary.  If for this you and I must differ, differ we must. ...

By every principle of law, ever held by any court, North or South, every negro taken to [the territory of] Kansas is free; yet in utter disregard of this -- in the spirit of violence merely -- that beautiful Legislature gravely passes a law to hang men who shall venture to inform a negro of his legal rights.  This is the substance, and real object of the law.  If, like Haman, they should hang upon the gallows of their own building, I shall not be among the mourners for their fate.

In my humble sphere, I shall advocate the restoration of the Missouri Compromise, so long as Kansas remains a territory; and when, by all these foul means, it seeks to come into the Union as a Slave-state, I shall oppose it.

... The slave-breeders and slave-traders, are a small, odious and detested class, among you; and yet in politics, they dictate the course of all of you, and are as completely your masters, as you are the masters of your own negroes.

You enquire where I now stand.  That is a disputed point.  I think I am a whig; but others say there are no whigs, and that I am an abolitionist.  When I was at Washington I voted for the Wilmot Proviso** as good as forty times, and I never heard of any one attempting to unwhig me for that.  I now do no more than oppose the extension of slavery.

I am not a Know-Nothing.  That is certain.  How could I be?  How can any one who abhors the oppression of negroes, be in favor of degrading classes of white people?  Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid.  As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal."  We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes." When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and catholics."  When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy [sic].18/

 

*Lest there be any misunderstanding of Lincoln's use of the word "creatures" here in reference to slaves, that word was and still is a term commonly used to mean any human being; i.e., a creature or creation of God's.

 

**The Wilmot Proviso stipulated: "Provided that, as an express and fundamental condition to the acquisition of any territory from the Republic of Mexico by the United States, by virtue of any treaty which may be negotiated between them, and to the use by the Executive of the moneys herein appropriated, neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall ever exist in any part of said territory, except for crime, whereof the party shall first be duly convicted."  [Emphasis added]  The proviso passed the U.S. House of Representatives in 1846 and 1847 but never passed the U.S. Senate.

 

Boldly did Lincoln write to his friend, but he loved his friend still and friends they remained. Just so, Lincoln had only good will for the South, though he passionately hated and condemned the thing which they cherished.

 

1856

 

At a Republican rally in Kalamazoo, Michigan, without condemning Southern citizens, Lincoln stated his hatred of slavery and opposition to its extension into U.S. Territories:

 

... our Southern brethren do not differ from us. They are, like us, subject to passions, and it is only their odious institution of slavery, that makes the breach between us. ... We believe that it is right that slavery should not be tolerated in the new territories, yet we cannot get support for this doctrine, except in one part of the country. Slavery is looked upon by men in the light of dollars and cents.19/
 

1857

 

The following year, Lincoln argued against the U.S. Supreme Court's infamous Dred Scott Decision:

 

... the Chief Justice does not directly assert, but plainly assumes, as a fact, that the public estimate of the black man is more favorable now than it was in the days of the Revolution. This assumption is a mistake. In some trifling particulars, the condition of that race has been ameliorated; but, as a whole, in this country, the change between then and now is decidedly the other way.20/

 

Lincoln then elaborated on the black man's loss of rights between 1776 and 1857, including the right to vote in certain states where, shortly after the Revolution, free black men in fact had been given that right.

 

Continuing, he went on to say,

 

In those days [of the Revolution], our Declaration of Independence was held sacred by all, and thought to include all; but now, to aid in making the bondage of the negro universal and eternal, it is assailed, and sneered at, and construed, and hawked at, and torn, till, if its framers could rise from their graves, they could not at all recognize it.  All the powers of earth seem rapidly combining against him [the negro]. ... they stand musing as to what invention, in all the dominions of mind and matter, can be produced to make the impossibility of his escape more complete than it is. ...  I think the authors of that notable instrument intended to include all men, but they did not intend to declare all men equal in all respects. They did not mean to say all were equal in color, size, intellect, moral developments, or social capacity. They defined with tolerable distinctness, in what respects they did consider all men created equal -- equal in "certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." This they said, and this meant. They did not mean to assert the obvious untruth, that all were then actually enjoying that equality, nor yet, that they were about to confer it immediately upon them. In fact they had no power to confer such a boon. They meant simply to declare the right, so that the enforcement of it might follow as fast as circumstances should permit. ... The assertion that "all men are created equal" was of no practical use in effecting our separation from Great Britain; and it was placed in the Declaration, not for that, but for future use. Its authors meant it to be, thank God, it is now proving itself, a stumbling block to those who in after times might seek to turn a free people back into the hateful paths of despotism.

 

Lincoln and many like him understood that the founding fathers could not immediately abolish slavery because doing so would have destroyed a vital part of the economy of our infant nation, but that they in fact intended for it to end when more practicable, and made provisions for that end -- all as explained in his 1854 debate with Stephen Douglas.

 

1858

 

In August, Lincoln again appealed to the intent of the founding fathers during a speech in Lewiston, Illinois:

 

It is sufficient for our purpose that all of them greatly deplored the evil and that they placed a provision in the Constitution which they supposed would gradually remove the disease by cutting off its source. This was the abolition of the slave trade. ... These communities, by their representatives in old Independence Hall, said to the whole world of men: 'We hold these truths to be self evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.' This was their majestic interpretation of the economy of the Universe. This was their lofty, and wise, and noble understanding of the justice of the Creator to His creatures. Yes, gentlemen, to all His creatures, to the whole great family of man. In their enlightened belief, nothing stamped with the Divine image and likeness was sent into the world to be trodden on, and degraded, and imbruted by its fellows.21/

 

At Lewiston, Lincoln clearly asserted that blacks and whites were equals in the eyes of God, calling them fellows and assigning to both the distinction of having been made in the image of God.  Unfortunately, his desire to see the enslaved people returned to their homeland has, in these days, led some to accuse him of being a racist.  This view may appear to be supported by certain remarks made a month later in his fourth debate with Douglas ...

 

I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races -- that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality.22/

 

Was Lincoln self-contradictory?  No, but he did make a clear distinction between (1) social and political equality and (2) a person's intrinsic worth and rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Note that Lincoln did not say there was an inherent superiority in the quality or worth of the white man over the black, only that there was a difference which he believed stood in the way of the two races living together as one.  Eventually, he would propose giving the vote to blacks; in the Douglas debate, however, he went on to say ...

 

And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.  I say upon this occasion I do not perceive that because the white man is to have the superior position the negro should be denied everything.  [Emphasis added.]

 

The word "superior" is often perceived as inflammatory, particularly in light of the twentieth centuryís increasing progress of civil rights.  Note, however, that it is a position which Lincoln describes as either superior or inferior, and not the races.  The military term "superior officer" officially and unequivocally signifies that one officer has a position of higher rank and authority than another, and  may or may not denote the quality of an officer.  It was in this sense that Lincoln believed that, if the two races were to coexist in a totally free society, one race would necessarily wield greater power and authority than the other and that race should be the white.  In that scenario, however, what was it that Lincoln believed the black race should not be denied?  Eighteen months after the Douglas debate, he would mention one thing in particular.  First, however, he addressed the issue of slavery as it related to Republican politicians.

 

1859

 

In April, Lincoln responded to an invitation to a meeting in Boston celebrating Thomas Jefferson's birthday.  Arguing that Republicans were Jefferson's true disciples while Democrats had abandoned Jefferson's view of liberty, he wrote: 

 

... the Jefferson party were formed upon their supposed superior devotion to the personal rights of men, holding the rights of property to be secondary only, and greatly inferior ... The democracy of to-day hold the liberty of one man to be absolutely nothing, when in conflict with another man's right of property. Republicans, on the contrary, are for both the man and the dollar; but in cases of conflict, the man before the dollar. ... This is a world of compensations; and he who would be no slave, must consent to  have no slave.  Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves; and, under a just God, can not long retain it.23/

 

It has been argued that Jefferson, since he kept slaves, did not have the black race in mind when he declared all men to have been created equal and endowed with certain rights. However, thirty years before he signed the 1807 law which declared the slave trade to be illegal, Jefferson wrote of his convictions concerning slavery:

 

"... There must doubtless be an unhappy influence on the manners of our people produced by the existence of slavery among us. The whole commerce between master and slave is a perpetual exercise of the most boisterous passions, the most unremitting despotism on the one part, and degrading submissions on the other. Our children see this, and learn to imitate it; for man is an imitative animal. ... Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever: that considering numbers, nature and natural means only, a revolution of the wheel of fortune, an exchange of situation, is among possible events: that it may become probable by supernatural interference! The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in such a contest. But it is impossible to be temperate and to pursue this subject through the various considerations of policy, of morals, of history natural and civil. We must be contented to hope they will force their way into every one's mind. I think a change already perceptible, since the origin of the present revolution. The spirit of the master is abating, that of the slave rising from the dust, his condition mollifying, the way I hope preparing, under the auspices of heaven, for a total emancipation, and that this is disposed, in the order of events, to be with the consent of the masters, rather than by their extirpation."24/

 

Again, having inherited slavery from colonial days and perceiving it an economic necessity from which the infant nation must be weaned rather than pulled, the founding fathers nevertheless looked forward to its demise.  See how specific Jefferson was: "... the way I hope preparing ... for a total emancipation."  Between his day and Lincoln's, unfortunately, one part of the nation became complacent towards slavery, and even greedy for  its perpetuation.  Lincoln, however, recognized it -- or rather its demise -- as vital to the nation's welfare.

 

On 9 October, he wrote to Thomas Corwin, a Republican Congressman from Ohio, stating that any Republican candidate running for office in Illinois must be a man who recognizes the Slavery issue as being the living issue of the day; who does not hesitate to declare slavery a wrong, nor to deal with it as such; who believes in the power, and duty of Congress to prevent the spread of it.25/

 

In a public speech given a few months later, Lincoln spoke of one particular right he believed belonged to blacks as well as to anyone else.

 

1860

 

I am not ashamed to confess that twenty five years ago I was a hired laborer, mauling rails, at work on a flat-boat -- just what might happen to any poor man's son!  I want every man to have the chance -- and I believe a black man is entitled to it -- in which he can better his condition -- when he may look forward and hope to be a hired laborer this year and the next, work for himself afterward, and finally to hire men to work for him!  That is the true system.26/

 

There are those who insist that Lincolnís hope of returning blacks to their homeland was born out of a desire merely to be rid of them and, at the same time, relegate them to poverty. Such accusers lose sight of the fact that Lincoln himself was born in poverty and raised by a father whose only aspiration for him was that he wring a daily living from a primitive land by the sweat of his brow.  They forget that Lincoln educated himself and came literally out of the wilderness.  And so, they do not realize that Lincoln viewed neither poverty nor a primitive upbringing as obstacles to forging a better life for oneself.  No, it was not with coldness but with a clear sense of possibilities that he hoped for the return of the black race to their homeland with opportunities for achievements similar to his own.

 

And he made clear that blacks should not only be free but also have available to them, while in America, opportunities to engage in free enterprise.  Surely, it must be the resources for advancement -- including education -- that Lincoln had in mind for their bright prospects for the future, about which he'd spoken seven years earlier.  Eventually, in the midst of civil war, he would propose to his cabinet a plan for reconstruction that initially included apprenticeships for blacks.  In the meantime, he continued to press for steps such as prohibition of slavery in U.S. Territories and the District of Columbia and colonization.

 

The Presidential Years

 

1861

 

Lincoln was  elected President on 6 November 1860.  Southern reaction was swift and decisive, with the Georgia Legislature discussing secession only eight days after the election.  In less than three months, before Lincoln was inaugurated in fact, seven States had seceded and formed the Confederate States of America.  Before the end of 1861, they were joined by four more States as well as a number of U.S. Territories.  The Confederacy's cause, as many have professed it, was not slavery itself but States' rights, yet some form of the word slave appears thirty-five times in Georgia's declaration of secession, seven times in Mississippi's, eighteen in South Carolina's, twenty-two in that of Texas,27/ etc.  South Carolina's declaration, in fact, includes the following paragraph:

 

"A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery. He is to be entrusted with the administration of the common Government, because he has declared that that 'Government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free,' and that the public mind must rest in the belief that slavery is in the course of ultimate extinction."28/

 

South Carolina was not wrong.  However, as they and others chose to ignore, the "ultimate extinction" of slavery was in fact the intention of the founding fathers, including Jefferson, as has been discussed.  The gradual process toward that end began with the signing of the Declaration of Independence and continued with the ratification of the U.S. Constitution, the writings of Jefferson, the abolition of slavery in all existing States but one, and the restriction and final outlawing of the slave trade -- all accomplished by 1807.

 

For the sake of argument, however, let us assume that Confederates were sincere in their view that States' rights was their cause.  It certainly was the cause adopted by, or put upon, the common soldier who owned no slave.  Still, that cause, in the view of those in power, was directly connected to Lincoln, yet Lincoln had emphatically stated on at least one occasion his opposition to federal interference with slavery in States where it was already established.   What he did act against was the extension of slavery into U.S. Territories. Thus, it ultimately and in fact was not that the Southern States wished simply to defend States' rights but that they, and persons living in the Territories, wished to extend the reach and increase the profitability of slavery, in direct opposition to the intentions of the founding fathers and the implied purpose of the U.S. Constitution where it allowed for federal illegalization of the slave trade.

 

In the wake of secession, there were those in the Union who, understandably, became immediately concerned that Lincoln might be influenced to compromise.  Illinois Congressman William Kellogg was one of those.  He met with Lincoln in Springfield on 21 January 1861. Subsequently, before leaving Springfield for the White House, Lincoln wrote to William Seward concerning Kellogg's inquiry as to whether or not he would now be willing to compromise his long-held stand against slavery in the Territories.  Lincoln wrote to Seward:

 

... on the territorial question -- that is, the question of extending slavery under the national auspices, -- I am inflexible.  I am for no compromise which assists or permits the extension of the institution on soil owned by the nation.  And any trick by which the nation is to acquire territory, and then allow some local authority to spread slavery over it, is as obnoxious as any other.  I take it that to effect some such result as this, and to put us again on the high-road to a slave empire is the object of all these proposed compromises.  I am against it.29/

 

Lincoln was inaugurated on 4 March 1861.  In his inaugural address, he attempted to allay the concerns of those in the South and to explain his understanding of the perpetuity of the Union:

 

I hold that in contemplation of universal law and of the Constitution the Union of these States is perpetual. Perpetuity is implied, if not expressed, in the fundamental law of all national governments. It is safe to assert that no government proper ever had a provision in its organic law for its own termination. Continue to execute all the express provisions of our National Constitution, and the Union will endure forever, it being impossible to destroy it except by some action not provided for in the instrument itself. ... If the United States be not a government proper, but an association of States in the nature of contract merely, can it, as a contract, be peaceably unmade by less than all the parties who made it? One party to a contract may violate it -- break it, so to speak -- but does it not require all to lawfully rescind it?

 

While some would accuse Lincoln of being a President who divided the nation, he in fact desired nothing more than to keep the Union whole.  In actuality, it was opposition to the principles for which he and the founding fathers stood that divided the nation.

 

1862

 

Lincoln was so compassionate toward his Southern brethren, as he called them, that he pardoned a great many Confederate officers and soldiers, as well as civilians who aided the Confederacy.  Notably, the only plea for pardon which President Lincoln ever denied was a plea made by numerous New Englanders, including persons of influence, for the life of Nathaniel Gordon, a slave trader from Maine.  Gordon was apprehended by the U.S. Navy in the Mid-Atlantic in 1860, as he captained a ship bearing approximately 900 Africans bound for the slave market.  He was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death.  Although slave trading had been outlawed in 1808 and carried the penalty of death beginning in 1820, not one person had ever even been prosecuted, let alone executed, in all the years between 1808 and 1862.  And so it was that Gordonís friends and family believed they could persuade a new President, known for his compassion, to commute the sentence.  Their hopes were in vain. Rejecting their plea, Lincoln agreed with the first and only execution of a slave trader in America.  What he did grant was a temporary stay of execution to provide Gordon time to prepare to meet his Maker.  Upholding the sentence, Lincoln wrote:

 

And whereas, a large number of respectable citizens have earnestly besought me to commute the said sentence of the said Nathaniel Gordon to a term of imprisonment for life, which application I have felt it to be my duty to refuse;

And whereas, it has seemed to me probable that the unsuccessful application made for the commutation of his sentence may have prevented the said Nathaniel Gordon from making the necessary preparation for the awful change which awaits him:

Now, therefore, be it known, that I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United  States of America, have granted and do hereby grant unto him, the said Nathaniel  Gordon, a respite of the above recited sentence, until Friday the twenty-first day of February, A.D. 1862, between the hours of twelve oíclock at noon and three oíclock in the afternoon of the said day, when the said sentence shall be executed.

In granting this respite, it becomes my painful duty to admonish the prisoner that, relinquishing all expectation of pardon by Human Authority, he refer himself alone to the mercy of the common God and Father of all men.30/

 

A few months later, when the Civil War was a year old, Lincoln demonstrated his continuing concern for States' rights.  It appeared that a certain Union General had taken it upon himself, without authorization of the President or Congress, not only to declare martial law in certain newly seceded States but also to declare slaves in those States to be free.  Lincoln responded:

 

I, Abraham Lincoln, president of the United States, proclaim and declare, that the government of the United States, had no knowledge, information, or belief, of an intention on the part of General Hunter to issue such a proclamation; nor has it yet, any authentic information that the document is genuine.  And further, that neither General Hunter, nor any other commander, or person, has been authorized by the Government of the United States, to make proclamations declaring the slaves of any State free; and that the supposed proclamation, now in question, whether genuine or false, is altogether void, so far as respects such declaration.

I further make known that whether it be competent for me, as Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy, to declare the Slaves of any state or states, free, and whether at any time, in any case, it shall have become a necessity indispensable to the maintainance [sic] of the government, to exercise such supposed power, are questions which, under my responsibility, I reserve to myself, and which I can not feel justified in leaving to the decision of commanders in the field.  These are totally different questions from those of police regulations in armies and camps.31/

 

In this declaration, Lincoln alluded to the fact that he was already reconsidering the question of whether he had the power to abolish slavery and whether or not it would be right for him to exercise any such power.  In four months more, he addressed the question of emancipation in a Cabinet meeting, as revealed in the personal diaries of Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles and Secretary of the Treasury Salmon Chase.  Welles wrote that Lincoln said in the meeting, on 22 September 1862, that he had made a vow on the eve of the Battle of Antietam, 17 September 1862, that, if God gave us the victory in the approaching battle, he would consider it an indication of the divine will and that it was his duty to move forward in the cause of emancipation. Chase, in his record of the same cabinet meeting, noted particularly that Lincoln said he had made the promise to himself and his Maker.32/

 

Lincoln set his course.  The very same day, he issued a preliminary proclamation giving the Confederate States a little over three months to rejoin the Union and declaring that, if they did not, all slaves would be deemed, as of 1 January 1863, "forever free."33/

 

In another two months, he gave his annual message to Congress.  Having received no positive response from any of the Confederate States concerning his preliminary proclamation, he recommended that Congress take up three Constitutional amendments: (1) that every State to abolish slavery before 1 January 1900 would receive compensation from the U.S.; (2) that all slaves who had achieved actual freedom through circumstances of the war would be forever free; and (3) Congress could appropriate money and provide for colonization of free blacks, with their own consent, anywhere outside the U.S.34/

 

1863

 

On 1 January, the final Emancipation Proclamation was issued.  It opened with these words:

 

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 ...35/

 

Lincoln began the year with the Emancipation Proclamation and ended it by proposing to Congress a plan for reconstruction that included apprenticeships for blacks, as later revealed in his last public address:

 

In the Annual Message of Dec. 1863 and accompanying Proclamation, I presented a plan of re-construction (as the phrase goes) which, I promised, if adopted by any State, should be acceptable to, and sustained by, the Executive government of the nation. I distinctly stated that this was not the only plan which might possibly be acceptable; and I also distinctly protested that the Executive claimed no right to say when, or whether members should be admitted to seats in Congress from such States. This plan was, in advance, submitted to the then Cabinet, and distinctly approved by every member of it. One of them suggested that I should then, and in that connection, apply the Emancipation Proclamation to the theretofore excepted parts of Virginia and Louisiana; that I should drop the suggestion about apprenticeship for freed-people Ö36/

 

Lincoln unfortunately took the memberís suggestion that apprenticeships be dropped from the proclamation.  One can easily imagine, though, that Lincoln's original or some similar idea eventually would have taken some other form were his second term not cut off practically at its inception.  Lincoln clearly hoped for the advancement of the black race.

 

1864

 

In April 1864, Lincoln met with Governor Bramlette of Kentucky, former Senator Dixon of Kentucky, and the editor of the Kentucky newspaper Commonwealth, Albert Hodges.  After the meeting, Hodges asked Lincoln to put what he had said to them in writing.  He did so in a letter dated 4 April, stating in part:

 

If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong. I can not remember when I did not so  think, and feel. And yet I have never understood that the Presidency conferred upon  me an unrestricted right to act officially upon this judgment and feeling. ... I understood, too, that in ordinary civil administration this [Presidential] oath even forbade me to practically indulge my primary abstract judgment on the moral question of slavery. I had publicly declared this many times, and in many ways. And I aver that, to this day, I have done no official act in mere deference to my abstract judgment and feeling on slavery.37/  [Emphasis added.]

 

Though Lincoln had always desired to see an end to slavery, he would not overstep the bounds of his office in order to fulfill that desire.  What, then, had led him to feel justified finally in issuing the Emancipation Proclamation?  Again, strangely enough, it was the office that set his course.  Now, however, it was the duty of the office rather than its limits which governed his actions.  In the Hodges letter, he went on to say ...

 

I did understand however, that my oath to preserve the constitution to the best of my ability, imposed upon me the duty of preserving, by every indispensabale [sic] means, that government -- that nation -- of which that constitution was the organic law.  Was it possible to lose the nation, and yet preserve the constitution? ... I felt that measures, otherwise unconstitutional, might become lawful, by becoming indispensable to the preservation of the constitution, through the preservation of the nation. ... I could not feel that, to the best of my ability, I had even tried to preserve the constitution, if, to save slavery, or any minor matter, I should permit the wreck of government, country, and Constitution all together.

If God now wills the removal of a great wrong, and wills also that we of the North  as well as you of the South, shall pay fairly for our complicity in that wrong, impartial history will find therein new cause to attest and revere the justice and goodness of God.

 

Believing the Constitution forbade breaking up the Union without the consent of all the States, discovering the South would rather divide the nation than give up any part of slavery, and concluding eventually that a fracture of the nation meant the crumbling of the Constitution he had sworn to protect and defend, Lincoln saw finally that abolishing slavery in the entire nation -- while not specifically within his jurisdiction -- was nevertheless required in order to fulfill his duty.

 

In the end, doing only and all those things dictated by his office enabled Abraham Lincoln to fulfill both a high personal ideal and a high presidential commitment - liberty for the slave and preservation of the Constitution.  He clearly believed that allowing slavery to continue brought upon the nation the horrors of war.  Jefferson himself had foreseen some similar outcome and trembled.  Regrettably, persons to the South and persons to the North will continue to debate Lincoln's intentions for generations to come.

 

In July, Lincoln received, through Horace Greeley, communications purporting to offer peace negotiations with representatives of the Confederacy.  Greeley wrote to him enclosing a letter and telegraph from one Colorado Jewett claiming to have friends with "full powers" from Jefferson Davis for negotiating a peace.  Lincoln responded:

 

If you can find, any person anywhere professing to have any proposition of Jefferson Davis in writing, for peace, embracing the restoration of the Union and abandonment of slavery, what ever else it embraces, say to him he may come to me with you, and that if he really brings such proposition, he shall, at the least, have safe conduct ... The same, if there be two or more persons.38/

 

Subsequently, on the 18th of the month, Lincoln composed a document stating the Government's position with regard to peace, which document Horace Greeley and John Hay were to deliver to persons in Canada purporting to represent the Confederate States.  He wrote:

 

Any proposition which embraces the restoration of peace, the integrity of the whole Union, and the abandonment of slavery, and which comes by and with an authority that can control the armies now at war against the United States will be received and considered by the Executive government of the United States, and will be met by liberal terms on other substantial and collateral points; and the bearer, or bearers thereof shall have safe-conduct both ways.39/

 

The same day, however, Lincoln received a telegram from Greeley clarifying the supposed authority of the "representatives," saying he had found them not to have the power they had originally claimed and they now were claiming to be in the confidential employment of the Confederacy and felt they were familiar with its wishes and would be authorized to act if their correspondence with Lincoln were communicated to Richmond.  Needless to say, nothing ever came of Greeley's peace mission.

 

As the year 1864 drew to a close, Lincoln recommended to Congress that it reconsider and pass a Constitutional amendment abolishing slavery, which amendment Congress had previously failed to pass:

 

At the last session of Congress a proposed amendment of the Constitution abolishing slavery throughout the United States, passed the Senate, but failed for lack of the requisite two-thirds vote in the House of Representatives. Although the present is the same Congress, and nearly the same members, and without questioning the wisdom or patriotism of those who stood in opposition, I venture to recommend the reconsideration and passage of the measure at the present session.40/

 

1865

 

After his reelection as President, after the Civil War, with approximately 140,000 surviving black soldiers having served in the Union Army, Lincoln had begun to consider equal rights for blacks on a level that would lead to citizenship.  Two days after General Leeís surrender, Lincoln spoke from the White House balcony concerning the newly re-formed government of Louisiana ...

 

... It is also unsatisfactory to some that the elective franchise is not given to the colored man. I would myself prefer that it were now conferred on the very intelligent, and on those who serve our cause as soldiers. ...41/

 

Had Lincoln endorsed such rights for blacks (limited though they were) before the victory was won, it might be said that he was merely offering a carrot to entice more black volunteers or to encourage black reenlistment.  Instead, he waited till victory was gained, and with all sincerity offered other blacks the same hand of friendship he had given to Frederick Douglass. In this, his last speech, he also said ...

 

Some twelve thousand voters in the heretofore slave-state of Louisiana have sworn allegiance to the Union, assumed to be the rightful political power of the State, held elections, organized a State government, adopted a free-state constitution, giving the benefit of public schools equally to black and white, and empowering the Legislature to confer the elective franchise upon the colored man. Their Legislature has already voted to ratify the constitutional amendment recently passed by Congress, abolishing slavery throughout the nation. These twelve thousand persons are thus fully committed to the Union, and to perpetual freedom in the state -- committed to the very things, and nearly all the things the nation wants -- and they ask the nations recognition, and it's assistance to make good their committal. Now, if we reject, and spurn them, we do our utmost to disorganize and disperse them. We in effect say to the white men "You are worthless, or worse -- we will neither help you, nor be helped by you.'' To the blacks we say "This cup of liberty which these, your old masters, hold to your lips, we will dash from you, and leave you to the chances of gathering the spilled and scattered contents in some vague and undefined when, where, and how.'' ... Grant that [the black man] desires the elective franchise, will he not attain it sooner by saving the already advanced steps toward it, than by running backward over them? Concede that the new government of Louisiana is only to what it should be as the egg is to the fowl, we shall sooner have the fowl by hatching the egg than by smashing it? Again, if we reject Louisiana, we also reject one vote in favor of the proposed amendment to the national constitution. ...

 

Among Lincoln's listeners was a true racist and southern sympathizer, who had already failed in a plot to kidnap him.  Hearing Lincolnís desire that some blacks at least be given the vote, the man immediately replaced his plan of kidnap with one of murder.  The man's friend and companion, Louis Weichmann, later testified that John Wilkes Booth then and there declared: "That means nigger  citizenship.  Now, by God, Iíll put him through. Thatís the last speech heíll ever make."  In three days more, Booth would carry out the awful threat.  Why?  It would appear to be, at least in part, because he perceived that Lincoln would elevate the black man to a position too near his own.

 

Frederick Douglass - Lincoln's Friend

 

That Lincoln respected the potential of the black race is seen in his friendship with the great black orator and abolitionist Frederick Douglass.  He invited Douglass to the White House on a number of occasions, valuing the manís counsel and asking what he would do concerning several issues.  His regard for Douglass was such, in fact, that he welcomed him into the second inaugural reception at the White House when police officers attempted to keep him out.  Lincoln, to the dismay of some, went out of his way to shake Douglassís hand and talk with him.

 

After Lincolnís death, Mrs. Lincoln sent to Douglass the Presidentís favorite walking stick.  In a letter of reply, Douglass described the cane as an "object of sacred interest," not just for himself personally, but also because of Lincolnís "humane interest in the welfare of  my whole race."

 

In his reminiscences, Douglass later described one of his visits with Lincoln:

 

"An incident occurred during this interview which illustrates the character of this great man, though the mention of it may savor a little of vanity on my part. While in conversation with him, his secretary twice announced 'Governor Buckingham of Connecticut,' one of the noblest and most patriotic of the loyal governors. Mr. Lincoln said, 'Tell Governor Buckingham to wait, for I want to have a long talk with my friend, Frederick Douglass.' I interposed and begged him to see the governor at once, as I could wait; but no, he persisted that he wanted to talk with me, and Governor Buckingham could wait. This was probably the first time in the history of this Republic when its chief magistrate found occasion or disposition to exercise such an act of impartiality between persons so widely different in their positions and supposed claims upon his attention. From the manner of the Governor, when he was finally admitted, I inferred that he was as well satisfied with what Mr. Lincoln had done, or had omitted to do, as I was. ... Mr. Lincoln was not only a great President, but a GREAT MAN -- too great to be small in anything. In his company I was never in any way reminded of my humble origin, or of my unpopular colour."42/

 

In 1876, the black community in Washington erected the Freedmen's Monument, a statue of Lincoln, in the park which bears his name.  At the unveiling of that statue, Douglass spoke of the "exalted character" and "great works" of Abraham Lincoln and said, in part:

 

"Ö we are here to express, as best we may, by appropriate forms and ceremonies, our grateful sense of the vast, high, and preeminent services rendered to ourselves, to our race, to our country, and to the whole world by Abraham Lincoln, the first martyr President of the United States. ... Though high in position, the humblest could approach him and feel at home in his presence. Though deep he was transparent; though strong, he was gentle; though decided and pronounced in his convictions, he was tolerant towards those who differed from him, and patient under reproaches."43/

 

Conclusion

 

No better or more fitting conclusion can be drawn concerning Lincoln's character as it pertained to slavery, abolition, and the Civil War than that offered by Douglass at the unveiling:

 

"I have said that President Lincoln was a white man, and shared the prejudices common to his countrymen towards the colored race. Looking back to his times and to the condition of his country, we are compelled to admit that this unfriendly feeling on his part may be safely set down as one element of his wonderful success in organizing the loyal American people for the tremendous conflict before them, and bringing them safely through that conflict. His great mission was to accomplish two things: first, to save his country from dismemberment and ruin; and second, to free his country from the great crime of slavery. To do one or the other, or both, he must have the earnest sympathy and the powerful cooperation of his loyal fellow-countrymen. Without this primary and essential condition to success his efforts must have been vain and utterly fruitless. Had he put the abolition of slavery before the salvation of the Union, he would have inevitably driven from him a powerful class of the American people and rendered resistance to rebellion impossible. Viewed from the genuine abolition ground, Mr. Lincoln seemed tardy, cold, dull, and indifferent; but measuring him by the sentiment of his country, a sentiment he was bound as a statesman to consult, he was swift, zealous, radical, and determined.

"Though Mr. Lincoln shared the prejudices of his white fellow countrymen against the negro, it is hardly necessary to say that in his heart of hearts he loathed and hated slavery. The man who could say, 'Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war shall soon pass away, yet if God wills it continue till all the wealth piled by two hundred years of bondage shall have been wasted, and each drop of blood drawn by the lash shall have been paid for by one drawn by the sword, the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether,' gives all needed proof of his feeling on the subject of slavery. He was willing, while the South was loyal, that it should have its pound of flesh, because he thought it was so nominated in the bond; but farther than this no earthly power could make him go.

"Fellow citizens, whatever else in the world may be partial, unjust, and uncertain, time, time! is impartial, just, and certain in its action. In the realm of mind, as well as in the realm of matter, it is a great worker, and often works wonders. The honest and comprehensive statesman, clearly discerning the needs of his country, and earnestly endeavoring to do his whole duty, though covered and blistered with reproaches, may safely leave his course to the silent judgment of time. Few great public men have ever been the victims of fiercer denunciation than Abraham Lincoln was during his administration. He was often wounded in the house of his friends. Reproaches came thick and fast upon him from within and from without, and from opposite quarters. He was assailed by abolitionists; he was assailed by slaveholders; he was assailed by the men who were for peace at any price; he was assailed by those who were for a more vigorous prosecution of the war; he was assailed for not making the war an abolition war; and he was most bitterly assailed for making the war an abolition war.

 

"But now behold the change: the judgment of the present hour is, that taking him for all in all, measuring the tremendous magnitude of the work before him, considering the necessary means to ends, and surveying the end from the beginning, infinite wisdom has seldom sent any man into the world better fitted for his mission than Abraham Lincoln."44/

 

 

SOURCES

 

1/

Illinois House Journal, 20 Jan 1837

2/

Illinois House Journal, 3 Mar 1837

3/

Illinois House Journal, 3 Feb 1839

4/

Sangamo Journal, 23 Jan 1845

5/

Illinois Journal, 14 Jan 1854

6/

Register and Illinois Journal, 30 Aug 1853

7/

"Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln," Abraham Lincoln, Ed. Roy P. Basler (1953), Vol. 1, p. 348: Letter to Williamson Durley, 3 Oct 1845

8/

Globe, 13 Dec 1848

9/

Globe, 18 Dec 1848

10/

Collected Works ...," Ibid., Vol. 2, p. 21: Section 3., Amendment to House Resolution, 10 Jan 1849

11/

Journal, 13 Jan 1849

12/

Globe, 31 Jan 1849

13/

"Collected Works ...," Ibid., Vol. 2, p 132: Eulogy on Henry Clay, 6 Jul 1852

14/

"The Life and Speeches of Henry Clay," Henry Clay, New York (1843), Vol. 1, p. 282

15/

"Collected Works ...," Ibid., Vol. 2, p. 222: Fragment on Slavery, c. 1 Jul 1854

16/ 

"Collected Works ...," Ibid., Vol. 2, pp. 222-23: Fragment on Slavery, c. 1 Jul 1854

17/

"Collected Works ...," Ibid., Vol. 2, pp. 255, 274: Debate with Stephen Douglas, Peoria, Illinois, 16 Oct 1854

18/

"Collected Works ...," Ibid., Vol. 2, pp. 320-323: Letter to Joshua Speed, 24 Aug 1855

19/

"Collected Works ...," Ibid., Vol. 2, pp. 362, 365: Speech at Kalamazoo, Michigan, 27 Aug 1856

20/

"Collected Works ...," Ibid., Vol. 2, pp. 403-06: Speech at Springfield, Illinois, 26 Jun 1857

21/

"Collected Works ...," Ibid., Vol. 2, p. 546: Speech at Lewistown, Illinois, 17 Aug 1858

22/

"Collected Works ...," Ibid., Vol. 3, pp. 145-46: Debate with Stephen Douglas, Charleston, Illinois, 18 Sep 1858

23/

"Collected Works ...," Ibid., Vol. 3, p. 376: Letter to Henry Pierce and Others, 6 Apr 1859

24/

"Notes on the State of Virginia," Thomas Jefferson; London, printed for John Stockdale (1787)

25/

Private Collection: Letter, Abraham Lincoln to Thomas Corwin, 9 Oct 1859

26/

"Collected Works ...," Ibid., Vol. 4, p. 24-5: Speech at New Haven, Connecticut, 6 March 1860

27/

"Georgia Official Records," Ser. IV, Vol. 1, pp. 81-85; "Journal of the [Mississippi] State Convention," Jackson, Miss., E. Barksdale, State Printer (1861), pp. 86-88; "South Carolina Secedes," J.A. May & J.R. Faunt, U. of S. Car. Pr. (1960), pp. 76-81; Journal of the Secession Convention of Texas," E.W. Winkler, ed., pp. 61-66

28/

"South Carolina Secedes," J.A. May & J.R. Faunt, U. of S. Car. Pr. (1960)

29/

"Collected Works ...," Ibid., Vol. 4, p. 183: Letter to William Seward, 1 Feb 1861

30/

"Collected Works ...," Ibid., Vol. 5, p. 128: Temporary Stay of Execution, 4 Feb 1862

31/

"Collected Works ...," Ibid., Vol. 5, pp. 222-223: Proclamation Revoking General Hunter's Order of Military Emancipation, 19 May 1862

32/

"Diary of Gideon Welles," Pub. Houghton Mifflin (1911); "Annual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1902," Vol. 2: Diary and Correspondence of Salmon P. Chase; Government Printing Office (1902)

33/

National Archives and Records Administration: Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, 22 Sep 1862

34/

"Collected Works ...," Ibid., Vol. 5, p. 530: Annual Message to Congress, 1 Dec 1862

35/

National Archives and Records Administration: Emancipation Proclamation, 1 Jan 1863

36/

"Collected Works ...," Ibid., Vol. 8, p. 401-02: Last Public Address, 11 Apr 1865, referencing his 1863 Message to Congress

37/

"Collected Works ...," Ibid., Vol. 7, pp. 281, 282: Letter to Albert Hodges, 4 Apr 1864

38/

"Collected Works ...," Ibid., Vol. 7, p. 435: Letter to Horace Greeley, 9 Jul 1864

39/

"Collected Works ...," Ibid., Vol. 7, p. 451: Letter to Whom It May Concern, 18 Jul 1864

40/

"Collected Works ...," Ibid., Vol. 8, p. 149: Annual Message to Congress, 6 Dec 1864

41/

"Collected Works ...," Ibid., Vol. 8, p. 403,404: Last Public Address, 11 Apr 1865

42/

"Life and Times of Frederick Douglass," Frederick Douglass, Hartford, Connecticut (1881), p. 365

43/

"Life and Times ...," Ibid., p. 491: Douglass Oration in Memory of Abraham Lincoln, 14 Apr 1876

44/ "Life and Times ...," Ibid., pp. 497-98: Oration

 

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