Abraham Lincoln and the Road to Emancipation by William K. Klingaman

By William K. Klingaman

The Emancipation Proclamation eternally replaced the process American historical past. In Abraham Lincoln and the line to Emancipation, William Klingaman presents a much-needed well known heritage of the making of the Emancipation Proclamation and its next effect on race relatives in America.

In the culture of Garry Wills's award-winning Lincoln at Gettysburg, Klingaman reconstructs the occasions that resulted in Lincoln's momentous selection. he is taking us from Lincoln's inauguration in the course of the outbreak of the Civil warfare and the Confederates' early army victories. regardless of the Abolitionists' urging, Lincoln used to be reluctant to factor an edict releasing the slaves lest it alienate dependable border states. A succession of army reverses led Lincoln to aim to procure congressional approval of sluggish, compensated emancipation. but if all his plans failed, Lincoln eventually begun drafting an emancipation proclamation as an army weapon-what he defined as his "last card" opposed to the rebellion.

Finally issued on January 1, 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation didn't finish the war-or slavery-overnight, and Klingaman follows the tale via extra years of bloody warfare ahead of ultimate Union victory and Lincoln's tragic assassination. The booklet concludes with a quick dialogue of the way the Emancipation Proclamation-its language and the conditions during which it was once issued-have formed American background.

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Lincoln put out his hand in a very friendly manner, and said, “Mr. Russell, I am very glad to make your acquaintance, and to see you in this country. The London Times is one of the greatest powers in the world—in fact, I don’t know anything which has more power, except 43 A B R A H A M L I N C O L N A N D T H E R O A D T O E M A N C I PAT I O N perhaps the Mississippi. ” Conversation ensued for some minutes, which the President enlivened by two or three peculiar little sallies, and I left agreeably impressed with his shrewdness, humor, and natural sagacity.

Lincoln was stunned. Hours earlier, he had promised to “hold, occupy, and possess the property, and places belonging to the government” in the South, but there were only two such places left—Sumter and Fort Pickens, in Pensacola harbor. Before his inauguration, Lincoln asked General Scott to prepare plans to defend those forts, or retake them if necessary. If Lincoln allowed Sumter to fall without a shot, he would saddle his administration with an image of impotence from which it might never recover.

Each morning, Lincoln had only to walk to work down a corridor from bedroom to office, but the corridor filled quickly with men seeking a few moments of his time. The extraordinary security precautions for the inaugural evaporated in less than twenty-four hours. Anyone with sufficient patience and determination could obtain a private audience with the president, who scoffed at the possibility of assassination. Vice President Hamlin leaned far more toward abolition than Lincoln, so Lincoln knew that no southerner would kill him to make Hamlin president.

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