Preliminary Emancipation: Review Background Information

I have been doing everything in my power to maintain the allegiance of the slave states that remained loyal to the Union when the South seceded – Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, and Missouri. If those states join the Confederacy, we might lose the war. I have recognized the constitutional right of their citizens to own slaves, but I have tried to convince those states to voluntarily adopt plans to emancipate their slaves – gradually and with compensation to the owners. Now in the summer of 1862, it’s becoming clear they will not go along.

As commander in chief, I believe I have the right to employ “all indispensable means” – including emancipation – to save the Union. Emancipation would raise the morale of those who love freedom, both here and abroad, and would give the Union access to hundreds of thousands of black people who would now be free to help the North. An emancipation proclamation, however, would also risk sending the Border States right into the arms of the Confederacy.

I have received strong opinions from both sides.

Name of Person 1

Horace Greeley (1811-1872)

Founder and editor of the New York Tribune. He used his newspaper to call for the abolition of slavery, and was instrumental in the formation of the Republican Party in 1856. He ran unsuccessfully for the House and Senate, and was defeated by Grant in the 1872 presidential election.

Name of Person 1

Montgomery Blair
(1813-1883)

Lawyer, politician, member of Lincoln’s cabinet. He worked for Lincoln’s election and was appointed Postmaster General. Opposed to slavery, he had supported Dred Scott’s petition for freedom, which was rejected by the Supreme Court in 1857.

Issue Proclamation

It is past time to issue an Emancipation Proclamation. “We think you are unduly influenced by the counsels, the representations, the menaces, of certain fossil politicians hailing from the Border States....”

Do Not Issue Proclamation

An Emancipation Proclamation will give the Democrats “a club… to beat the Administration.” It would “put power in the next House of Representatives in the hands of those opposed to the war, or to our mode of carrying it on.”

So those are my choices: Stick with my Border State strategy, even though it doesn’t seem to be working, and continue to press for voluntary emancipation by the states, or adopt a new policy of military emancipation in the Rebel States that could lose the Border States to the Confederacy. What should I do?