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 Posted: Mon Feb 27th, 2012 09:21 pm
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Hellcat
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BHR62 wrote: The Proclamation had political advantages to it no doubt about it.  But Lincoln had seen slavery first hand while he took his dads goods to New Orleans down the Mississippi.  It didn't leave a good impression on him.  He was known for his anti-slavery sentiments in the legislature and in the debates with Douglas.  So I still believe he had moral reasons for his Proclamation. 

 

I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.

Abraham Lincoln, March 4, 1861

 

We're looking at a passage from Lincoln's First Inaugural Address. Despite everything he had said in the years prior he's suddenly going to go back on morals he's ssupposed to have shown in the Lincoln-Douglas Debates and the legislature concerning slavery then suddenly issue the Emancipation out of moral conviction?

Appearing to support the moral conviction we have the following from Randall Bedwell's War Is All Hell: A Collection of Civil War Quotations:

We must free the slaves or be ourselves subdued .... and strike at the heart of the rebellion.

 

Lincoln said this on July 13, 1862 and again it appears to support the moral compunction. But why "strike at the heart of the rebellion?" Why not leave it at "free the slaves or be ourselves subdued?" If freeing the slaves is all about a moral conviction then leaving it at that first part is all that's needed. I will admit that Bedwell quite likely leaves us with something missing here, but to have the striking at the heart of the rebellion in the same passage as what could be a moral conviction to end slavery forces the question to be asked of whether it was a moral conviction to end all slavery or just end slavery in those areas in open rebellion against the federal government. It brings us back to the political.

My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not to either save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that.

 

The full quote from Lincoln's letter to Horace Greeley I mentioned earlier. He's already got the Emancipation written at this point and here he is saying he doesn't want to save or destroy slavery. If it's a moral compunction to end slavery then you want to destroy it. But true to the last part Lincoln issues the Emancipation to only effect those areas in open rebellion against the federal government. Despite the rhetoric he'd been giving for years he's willing to leave folks in slavery in some places and free them in others. It seems a moral conviviction to end slavery should mean end it everywhere WHEN you issue the Emancipation. Not end it some places and say in others "Well, once this war is done you know it applies to you too."

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