Photo by Pixabay:

Dear Editor:

I read The 天堂影院 articles “The Emancipation Proclamation in practice: A Timeline” parts 1 and 2,聽 which briefly tells us the history around the issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation (EP) and how good it is for us as Americans.聽

I compared the articles to what I read some years ago in the book “Forced into Glory: Abraham Lincoln White Dream” by noted historian Lerone Bennett Jr.

The articles didn’t tell us that POTUS Lincoln used the N-word in private and public all the time, but he had the slaves best interest at heart when issuing the EP, the articles allude to.聽

Was Lincoln the Great Emancipator?聽 聽 聽 聽

Did the EP free the millions of slaves in the Confederacy?聽

NO to both questions.Two years and one month after the EP was issued by Lincoln, 95% of slaves in the Confederacy, about 4 million slaves, were still kept in slavery. This was 2 months before the end of the Civil War.

The EP also allowed “border states” and Union-held territories of Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Delaware,聽 Tennessee, Virginia, Louisiana to keep the slaves in slavery, as if the EP wasn’t issued.

Some saw the EP as a war document, because the last sentence of the EP authorizes the recruitment聽of Negro men to serve in the armed forces. Over 100,000 Black men joined and fought for the freedoms every Americans, except us can enjoy. Please read what Jeff Davis, President of the Confederate States, said about the EP.

I enjoyed reading the articles, but I thought it made the EP more important than it really was. History is the author of the articles story of events. However, that聽doesn’t make it truthful.

Douglas Springs


Editor鈥檚 Note: The Brooklyn Historical Society blog features a series of blog posts called 鈥淭he Emancipation Proclamation: Americans Respond.鈥 An excerpt from the blog follows:

It should not surprise readers that the President of the Confederate States of America did not respond positively to the Emancipation Proclamation.

In a long and florid speech to the Confederate Congress on January 13, 1863, President Jefferson Davis portrayed the proclamation as a crime against humanity that would be decried and reviled throughout history.

Jefferson said in his speech, titled , Volume 3, pages 13-14, 鈥淲e may well leave it to the instincts of that common humanity which a beneficent Creator has implanted in the breasts of our fellow-men of all countries to pass judgment on a measure by which several millions of human beings of an inferior race, peaceful and contented laborers in their sphere, are doomed to extermination, while at the same time they are encouraged to a general assassination of their masters by the insidious recommendation 鈥榯o abstain from violence unless in necessary self-defense.鈥 Our own detestation of those who have attempted by the most excrable measure recorded in the history of guilty man is tempered by a profound contempt for the impotent rage which it discloses.聽 鈥︹

Several things are notable about Davis’s speech. First, to Jefferson Davis and other proponents of slavery, the Emancipation Proclamation was a de facto call for slave rebellion.聽

Armed rebellions were actually relatively uncommon in the antebellum American south as compared to other slave societies. But events like聽聽and, of course,聽John Brown’s 1859 raid on Harpers Ferry聽lived in infamy among slaveholders and their supporters. The violent聽, which began with a slave revolt and ended the establishment of the Black-led Republic of Haiti in 1804, terrified the slaveowning classes, especially in Black-majority areas like South Carolina.

To tie emancipation to violent rebellion, Davis quoted one line from Lincoln’s proclamation – “to abstain from violence unless in necessary self defense.” Davis implied that this is tantamount to endorsing Black-on-White violence in the Confederacy.

This endorsement of self-protection and personal self-determination聽was聽a very radical statement for Lincoln to make considering the centuries during which slaveowners were granted physical control over their chattel. Today, we can look to this clause to reflect how far Lincoln had come from his much more hesitant criticisms of slavery, including his previous endorsement of聽聽and of聽.

Finally, Davis dramatically declared that the Emancipation Proclamation “doom[ed]” black Americans “to extermination.” Davis’ belief in the inferiority of African Americans was so great that he believed that emancipation would only disrupt their “peaceful and contented” lives, leading to their inevitable demise. Whether this would occur over a longer period time, or whether emancipation would prompt this extermination at the hands of White slaveowners defending themselves during a slave insurrection remained unclear.

What is of course most important is just how mistaken Davis was. Enslaved people did leave plantations in large numbers after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued. But they rarely acted violently, and instead chose to head towards the United States Army to contribute their labor to something new: the Union cause. That, of course, created new opportunities for inequality.

Editor鈥檚 Note: The views expressed in this commentary piece do not necessarily the express the opinions of The 天堂影院.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *