rior to the Civil War, America was divided into 5 main categories:
1. The Radical Republican North
that said slavery is wrong - end it now.
2. The Moderate Republican North
that said slavery is wrong - transition out of it orderly over time.
3. The Practical Amoral Neutral
that only cared about the economy - jobs, tariffs and taxes.
4. The Moderate Democrat South
that said slavery is wrong, but we have to live with it - just make it rare and few, and treat your slaves nice.
5. The Extreme Democrat South
that said slavery is good - let's expand it into new States and force Northerners who are morally opposed to slavery to participate in it through the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.
Interestingly, these are the same general categories that America is divided into today regarding abortion.
When the Civil War
started, it looked as if the Confederate South would quickly win
faced draft riots
, ruled by decree, enacted martial law
and suspended habeas corpus
so that the government could arrest anyone without a warrant.
In 1862, the Confederates
defeated Union forces at the Second Battle of Bull Run and crossed the Potomac River into Maryland.
On September 15, 1862, Confederates captured Harper's Ferry,
taking over 12,000 Union prisoners.
The Confederate drive was halted
when Lee's Special Order 191
was misplaced and found by Union troops on September 13, 1862.
This allowed Union
forces to gain an advantage
at Sharpsburg, Maryland
The ensuing Battle of Antietam
, September 17, 1862, was the bloodiest day
of fighting in American history with over 23,000 casualties.
Five days later, September 22, 1862, Lincoln met with his cabinet
to draft the Emancipation Proclamation
Secretary of the Treasury Salmon Portland Chase recorded Lincoln
"The time for the annunciation of the emancipation policy can no longer be delayed.
Public sentiment will sustain it, many of my warmest friends and supporters demand it, and I have promised God that I will do it.
When asked about this last statement, Lincoln
"I made a solemn vow before God
, that if General Lee were driven back from Pennsylvania, I would crown the result by the declaration of freedom to the slaves
The Emancipation Proclamation
"I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, by virtue of the power in me vested as Commander-in-Chief.
do, on the FIRST DAY OF JANUARY, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three...publicly proclaim... that...persons held as slaves...are, and henceforward shall be, free...
And I hereby enjoin upon the people so declared to be free to abstain from all violence
for reasonable wages...
And upon this act...I invoke...the gracious favor of Almighty God
." Get the book AMERICAN MINUTE - Notable Events of American Significance Remembered on the Date They Occurred
On DECEMBER 1, 1862, President Lincoln
gave his Second Annual Message:
"In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free...
We shall nobly save - or meanly lose - the last, best hope of earth.
Other means may succeed; this could not fail. The way is plain...a way which if followed the world will forever applaud and God must forever bless
The Emancipation Proclamation
did not attempt to free slaves in the North
as those States were not in rebellion
and therefore there were no grounds for the President to attempt to overrule those legitimate State governments.
With the South a war-zone, the President
argued that his title as "Commander-in-Chief"
allowed him executive power
in the States at war.
This was considered an unconstitutional usurpation of power by the President
, being exactly what George Washington warned of
in his Farewell Address:
"But let there be no change by usurpation
; for though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good
, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed.
The precedent (of usurpation) must always greatly overbalance
in permanent evil any partial or transient benefit
which the use can at any time yield."
Though Lincoln intended his executive proclamation as an "instrument of good"
it was clearly recognized as a "usurpation"
of power and therefore unconstitutional
then undertook to free the slaves using proper constitutional
means, waiting for Congress to pass the 13th Amendment
This required 2/3's of Congress
to approve it, as portrayed in Steven Spielberg's movie, Lincoln
The 13th Amendment
was passed in the Senate
on April 8, 1864, with all 30 Republicans voting in favor of it
, joined by only 4 Democrats.
The 13th Amendment
was passed in the House
on January 31, 1865, with all 86 Republicans voting in favor
, joined by 15 Democrats, 14 Unconditional Unionists, and 4 Union men.50 Democrats
and 6 Union men voted against the 13th Amendment
in the House. Change to Chains-The 6,000 Year Quest for Global Control
Though not necessary, Lincoln
, the first Republican President, added his signature
to the 13th Amendment
after the words "Approved February 1, 1865."
Though Republicans were successful in their efforts to officially abolish slavery, Democrats
in Southern States passed Black Codes, Jim Crow Law
s, and created racial vigilante organizations
responded by pushing to enlarge the Federal Government's power
with the 14th Amendment
in 1868, ensuring civil rights for freed slaves. Republican
s then pushed through a ban on racial voting restrictions by passing the 15th Amendment
in 1870, which again enlarged the Federal Government's role.Lincoln
had stated earlier at Independence Hall, Philadelphia, February 22, 1861:
"The Declaration of Independence
not alone to the people of this country, but hope to all the world for all future time.
It was that which gave promise that in due time the weights would be lifted from the shoulders of all men
, and that all should have an equal chance...
This is the sentiment embodied in the Declaration of Independence... I would rather be assassinated on this spot than surrender it
." Get America's God and Country Encyclopedia of Quotations