The Emancipation Proclamation and the End of Slavery
Articles,  Blog

The Emancipation Proclamation and the End of Slavery

»» Good evening. I am David with the Archivist of the United
States, it’s a pleasure to welcome you to the William G. McGowan theater here at the National Archives, whether you’re joining us in person or through our YouTube channel. I’m pleased that you could be with us for
tonight’s discussion, the Emancipation Proclamation: Origins, Impact and Legacy. This program was made possible in part by
the National Archives foundation, through generous support of the United Airlines, we
thank them for their support. (Applause). Before we get started I would like to tell
you about two other programs. For many years the National Archives has participated
in the environmental film festival in the national’s capital. This coming Thursday, March 22nd at 7 p.m.
we continue that partnership with a screening of Generation On The Wind the 1975 documentary
film, that profiles a group of young artists, mechanics and environmental activists who successfully built the largest electrical generating windmill in the world. Next Tuesday, March 27 at noon, author Eileen
Rice, The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight the Win the Vote. It’s about the ratification of the constitutional
amendment that granted women the right to vote, which is subject of our next major blockbuster exhibit opening in March 2019. To learn more about these and all of our public
programs and exhibits, our monthly calendar of events is available, Check out our website to sign up. There’s a sign-up table outside theater where
you get email updates. You’ll also find information about other National
Archives activities and programs. Another way the get involved with the National
Archives is to become a the National Archives Foundation, the foundation supports all of the
education and outreach activity there, are applications for membership in the lobby. Or you become a member at Archives,
a little known secret which I keep telling everyone who listens, no one has ever been turned down for membership in the National
Archives Foundation. (Laughter). On the occasion of the 130th anniversary of the signing
of the Emancipation Proclamation, renowned historian John Hope Franklin spoke here at the National Archives. He described a scene in Washington, D.C.,
January 1, 1863 as President Abraham Lincoln signed the document. Hours later as news of the proclamation spread through the city. Far into the night, Professor Franklin describes, There was unrestrained celebration characterized
by men squealing, women fainting, dogs barking and whites and blacks shaking hands. From that first celebration to the present
day the Emancipation Proclamation has been regarded as one of the most important documents
of American history. Shortly after the National Archives building
opened, the proclamation was displayed in Rotunda in 1937, about eight years before the charters arrived here. This past February we displayed the document
again, although it’s fragility means that we must limit public display to only a few
days. Whenever we have brought it out, the public,
for the public whether here or at museums across the country, people line up to see it. The proclamation represents a promise of freedom
and justice that continues to resonate with people more than 150 years after its creation. Tonight we come together to examine the Emancipation
Proclamation’s origins, origins impact and legacy, and I would like to welcome Governor
James Blanchard to the stage to get us started. He’s the chairman of the National Archives
Foundation Board of Directors, he has previously served as the United States ambassador to Canada,
from 1993-1996. The 45th governor of Michigan from 1983 to
1991 as a member of the House of Representatives from Michigan the 18th district from 1975
to 1983. Please welcome Governor Jim Blanchard. »» Thank you, Mr. Archivist. By the way being share Chair of the Archives
Foundation Board is the most fun assignment I’ve ever had! Like a lot of you, I love history. We have as the archivist a world renowned
archivist, as a matter of fact a couple of years ago, he made sure that all of us on
the Board could go over and help celebrate with the Queen of England, the 800th anniversary
of the Magna Carta. There are some other Archives Foundation Board
members here. I would like them to raise their hands. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to operate. And a special welcome to Congressman Jim Clyburn,
because without the members of Congress, originally the archives wouldn’t exist. It was proposed by Franklin Roosevelt who
still needed congressional support. We do to this very day. My predecessor is a part of the panel. A’leiia Bundles She made it possible for me to become Chair
of the Archives Foundation. So, you know, loyalty in this business is
all important. Especially sincere loyalty, intelligent loyalty. (Laughter) It can go a long way in this town,
wouldn’t it ladies and gentlemen. (Laughter). No, this is the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation
Proclamation. The only thing I’m going to say is as a historian
James McPHerson honored by our foundation over the years “the Emancipation Proclamation is one of the great iconic documents of American history. Right up there with the Declaration of Independence.” Now our Foundation’s board is here working
with the archivists with the very fine archive staff to help promote and support and help
finance different exhibitions here that are important to our citizens in this town, but
all around the country. We’re proud to do that. And we are really excited with the sponsorship
tonight of this event by United Airlines. You can applaud one more time here. (Applause)
I have the privilege of introducing once the leaders of United Airlines who divides her time between Chicago and Houston, she’s Vice President of Community Affairs of United Airlines. She deals with strategy of engaging all
of the communities United is involved with. She has been recently Vice President of Customer
Contact, that’s a tough one in today’s world. She led a global team of 5,000 people and
13 centers, 9 countries, and presided over really the business of 35 states. But what’s interesting is in addition to community
relations and government relations, and employee relations, and customer relations, she’s actually
an accountant and an auditor. I said earlier, I looked at all of these awards
she’s received for community affairs, engagement, citizenship, leadership, the one I like goes
— what was it? The Institution of Internal Auditors. They gave an award in 2013, The Institute
of Internal Auditors for Inspirational Woman of the Year. I said I can’t imagine how someone could become
the inspirational leader of a bunch of auditors. (Laughter) But Sharon Grant did that. And that tells me she’s got to be good. I give you Sharon Grant. Thank you again. (Applause)
»» Good evening. It is a pleasure to be with you this evening. A pleasure 155 years in the making. I stand here this evening before you and I
don’t take this lightly. I am behalf of United, we’re deeply honored
to be sponsoring this dialogue that we’re going to have because we recognize and I recognize
the gravity, the intensity and really the utmost respect for what the Emancipation Proclamation
has done for our country. And as we continue forth 155 years later to
advance our country and the world of all that it means it is a pleasure to see each
of you to come out this evening to be a part of that conversation. So I want to thank you for joining us to hear
our distinguished paneled guests about all the Emancipation Proclamation means, it’s
history, and the defining moments of where we will go forward. United Airlines is extremely proud to sponsor
cultural institutions like this, the National Archives that foster cultural awareness and
move to inspire diverse communities, that we serve for you and all the public. So recognizing this anniversary this evening,
it is core to us and our core values of connecting people, uniting the world, breaking down barriers,
and inspiring a future generation. So I thank you for coming out this evening. And enjoy the panel. But more importantly, to participate in the
dialogue. So have a good evening. Thank you. (Applause). »» It’s now my pleasure to welcome our panel
to the stage. Our moderator is David Blight, professor of
American History at Yale University, also the Director of the Gilderman Center for Study of Slavery,
Resistance and an Abolition at Yale. Joining him tonight is Congressman James Clyburn, United States Representative for the Sixth District of South Carolina, A’Lelia Bundles who proudly needs no introduction
to this audience. She is the previous Chair of the National
Archives Foundation who is finishing up a book about her great grandmother, Madam Walker. When will we see it?>>tomorrow,>>Okay good. It will be in your bookstores soon. (Laughter) Edna Greene Medford, Professor and former
Chair of the Department of History at Howard University. Please join me in welcoming our panel to the
stage. (Applause) »» Well, thank you. Welcome everybody. Thank you David. Thank you United Airlines, thank you Governor
Blanchard. I grew up in Michigan, in Flint, but I think I left before you
were governor. I never got a chance to vote for you. Sorry about that. So let’s talk about Flint later. (Laughter). Anyway. We’re here obviously to talk about the document,
the Emancipation Proclamation. It’s drafting, its origin, its meaning, where
does it come from. But also it’s legacy. What has it meant over time? What does it mean now? You’ve all either participated in or heard
the stories when this document is brought out, whether here in Washington in this temple
of treasures, or out across the country, lines form. Why does that happen? Why does that happen with this document? What makes it sacred? What are we seeking when we need to see an
original document, even if we can only barely actually read the words? Just a half hour ago I leaned over it. And by God I could make out “thence forward
and forever free,” I could make out “military necessity,” the important phrases. Why do we do this. There are lots of answers. And we’re going to perhaps discuss some of
them. Is it because sometimes this is fun to ask,
always these are rhetorical questions. Is it because sometimes present seems so unstable,
our future seems so unsteady that a sacred document when you see it, you’re in the presence
of it gives us something like grounding, confidence, knowledge of a past, knowledge of great change
in the past represented by a document. Well, there are lots of answer to that. I want to place you just though in a moment. After this was finally real, after the preliminary
proclamation in September of 1862, which was Lincoln’s warning, many other ways to characterize
it. But it was Lincoln’s warning to the South
if they did not lay down their arm 100 days later on January 1, all the slaves in the
states in rebellion would be hence forward and forever free. That language of “hence for and forever free’
is in the preliminary proclamation. Then comes the final proclamation, so anticipated,
so much waited for, even with great anxiety in black communities. Would he sign it? Would there be some new compromise overnight? What would it mean? But once it was signed, Frederick Douglass
the greatest voice of African American in that era took a speech on the road in late
January and February, as Douglass always did, all over the north it was called The Proclamation
and The Negro Army. Among the many things he says in that speech
which is in part a recruiting speech was the simple line. He said “we are all liberated by this proclamation,
everybody is liberated. The white man is liberated. The black man is liberated. The brave men now fighting the battles of
their country against rebels and traitors are now liberated.” It was Douglass’s usual, being Douglass, trying
to capture in a sentence or two the meaning of a huge historical moment. Now I want to start with Edna since she and
I are the practicing historians here. Lay out a little bit of how do we get from
— how did we get from Fort Sumter the outbreak of this war, to January 1, 1863, a war that
in the first year and a half of the conflict almost two years, was a war to preserve the
Union and the northern side and the war for southern independence on the southern side. There’s a tremendous amount of controversy,
confusion and conflict in this first year in the and a half of the war in just how, if, or ever
for this would become a war against slavery. How did we get from Fort Sumter to this document,
frankly so fast and under such extraordinary and violent circumstances? How did we get there? That’s a tough thing to handle? »» How much time do we have? (Laughter) Well, if I may, I would like to
start before Fort Sumter. Lincoln comes into office indicating to the
seceeded states that he has no intention to interfere with their domestic institutions,
specifically slavery because in their ordinances of secession, most of them had talked about
the fact that this new republican coming into office was going to deprive them of this particular
institution. So he’s got to assure them that that’s not
going to happen. They didn’t believe him. And darned if he doesn’t touch the institution,
eventually. But a lot goes on before he get to that point. The south of the confederates from the very
beginning are used to enslaved people for their cause. So they’re having their — They’re impressing
enslaved people when they have to. They are hiring them from slaveholders when
they can as well. And so Lincoln very early on realizes that
this is an advantage for the confederacy, it’s going to be harder to win this war if
he can not separate this labor force from the confederacy. And so he’s attempting to get the border states,
that are not secceeded to decide that they’re never going to join the confederacy, they’re
going to free their enslaved labor goer, the confederacy will realize it won’t get any
larger. The border states are not interested in doing
that. »» They all turn and run. »» Absolutely. Congress does some things along the way. They have first and second Confiscation Act,
the second one is unyielding. There has to be a court ordered and all of
that. And it’s about separating the rebels from
their property and so forth. So Lincoln had hesitated initially because
he felt that he did not have the authority to do anything about slavery in those places
where it already existed. And so, by the summer of ’62 however he decided
that there is something he can do. he can use his war powers. The fact that the commander in chief has the
authority through the constitution to do whatever is necessary to quell a rebellion. So he uses that clause in the Constitution. But he does give them a warning. He gives them a 100 day warning. So that’s September 22, 1862 proclamation
preliminary proclamation is a warning. And he said, if you come back into the Union
by January 1, nothing will happen to your enslaved laborers. But of course no one thought that they really
were going to give up. So. »» The confederacy was winning the war. »» Absolutely they are, so you need the
enslaved laborers separated from the confederacy because the Union needs them as military men. »» That’s like a short column in a textbook
and you nailed it. (Laughter) I might only just add there for
the scale of this that to some degree, we get an Emancipation Proclamation because of
the sheer scale of the war. To defeat the confederacy by the spring and
summer of 1862 it’s pretty clear. You’re going to have to destroy slavery. You have to destroy its social institution. And when he does issue this proclamation the
preliminary proclamation, the attacks on it, even in the north, were oh you’re going to
launch a social revolution. Well, that’s right. That’s true. That’s what’s going to happen. This war, the scale of this war has become
so big, to totalizing that it’s going to have to be a war on society. Now, the question became how do you legally
do that? How do you do it militarily? As you know, as we all here know, the problem
with this document has always been, we want it to be a beautiful and richly moral document. Its meaning is moral. God knows that’s why people line up. It’s long-term meaning is deeply moral. But it’s actual language, is like a legal
brief. It’s a boring legal brief. It’s Lincoln trying to craft something that
was in the kind of tortured definition of the war powers. Military commander in chief, he has the power
to do, to confiscate property of the enemy. And there again, I mean, it leads us into
realms of history that we don’t always like to think about because they’re sort of counter
factual, but without the war no emancipation. God only knows when in the 19th Century or
the 20th this would have ended in the United States. So he has to do an executive order. Could you say just a bit more on that before
we get into the legacies of this and all? I mean the actual document, the actual language
of this proclamation provided for what and where? That’s important. »» Sure. Absolutely. and that’s where it got a lot of criticism. Because what the document does, it indicates
that those enslaved people who are in states or parts thereof still in rebellion will be
freed. But he says nothing about those union slave
holding states. Maryland, Delaware, Missouri, Kentucky. And he doesn’t say anything about those because
he can’t do anything about those legally from a constitutional perspective. And so. »» Unless he wanted to be a even more radical
— »» Exactly. He really really hadn’t — right. He was a moderate. Absolutely. So you’ve got that one thing there. To me, the second most important thing in
the document is the clause that says that black men are to be brought into military
service. »» Right there towards the end of it. »» Absolutely. And it is so important. Because black men had been attempting to get
into the war from the very beginning. And Lincoln didn’t want it. Congress didn’t want it. Most white Americans did not want this to
be a war about the freedom of black people. They kept saying this is a white man’s war. We don’t want the black people. But Lincoln understood early on, I mean not
just January 1, 1863, but certainly by the end of the first year that he would need the
assistance of black men to win the war. »» It really is. I mean, the authorization, virtually he’s
ordering the American military to recruit black troops. Now that process too is going to be brutally
discriminatory, ugly and bloody. But the document that orders the United States
military to recruit black soldiers. That’s your social revolution beyond just
what’s happening on the ground. Black soldiers and union Blue. Exactly how that’s going to be done, the document
doesn’t say, I’m not sure Lincoln has thought that through very much. Before we get to the legacy as Edna just implied
— Lincoln’s preferred way of doing emancipation in this war would have been gradual emancipation
enacted by the states themselves, that’s what he was trying to do. Get them to do it themselves. And then compensate it, it would be compensated
so much money per slave. And then with to some degree the colonization
of black folk voluntarily outside the United States. Gradual, compensated and colonized emancipation. That’s not to denigrate Abraham Lincoln. That’s where he started. Not where he ends up. Part of the great story. That’s not where he ends up. The war didn’t let him end up there. History didn’t let him end up there. It’s also worth thinking about at least, is
it not, we historians are always trying to quell the urge for believing in inevitability. The war was inevitability, the slavery was
inevitable. The Emancipation Proclamation must be inevitable. We’re America, it must have been inevitable. Like that old line “we’re American we don’t
torture.” Yes, we did. (Laughter) Any way. There’s nothing in inevitable about this proclamation. It comes out of events and decisions. And a horrible war. It didn’t just come down. A’lelia and Congressman Clyburn it’s an honor to be on the panel with both of you. I would like to hear both of , at least to begin with, reflect on growing up what, did you know about the Emancipation Proclamation? What did you learn about it? How did you learn about it? What did it mean? When did you learn about this document, and
the events surrounding it? Do you want to go first? »» I don’t want to follow the congressmen. (Laughter) He grew up in South Carolina, and
South Carolina is so pivotal for all of this. But I learned about the Civil War and Reconstruction. So —
»» Good, together. »» Because my grant father who was born
in 1892 had a grandfather who had been freed as a child, in Tennessee, lived in Ohio, moved
to Memphis, ended up in Arkansas during reconstruction, was elected to the state legislature in Arkansas, and
was elected to – a prison in Helena in Phillips County, a notorious county. But my grandfather is really the one who
told me about reconstruction and what it meant for that first generation of formerly enslaved
people to be free, to be involved in politics. So I had a very different lesson from my grandfather
than I had in my history books, which basically mentioned black people one time when I was
in high school in the 1960s, said enslaved people were happy. So this was a really different lesson that
there had been this real opportunity during Reconstruction for political power. »» So you grew up learning about black Reconstruction
politics, and this exercise of freedom, exercise of the right to vote from within your own
family? »» Right. »» Hence emancipation was the source of
that story. »» The source of that story absolutely. It was not the Birth of A Nation in South
Carolina. It was not that version of the story. (Laughter). »» I hope not. (Laughter). »» Congressmen? »» Well, I can’t remember any one lesson. When I was growing up the biggest celebration
in the black community was the Emancipation Day there were parades. There were just big celebrations on January
1, every year. And so I just knew about it. I mean there, was no one incident that led
me to open up a book and say, I want to learn about the Emancipation Proclamation. It was just there, you knew. I grew up in the very political household. My parents were republicans. They were members of the party of Lincoln. Now I’ve always sort of been curious about
not just what happened, but why things happen. And so as a pre-teenager, I just started delving
into why things happen. So I’m having a little bit of a problem here
tonight because, Lincoln served one term in the United States Congress. Well 1848, during the Mexican War. But during that one term, he introduced legislation
anti slavery legislation in 1848. So I just always felt that Lincoln Douglass debates,
the birth of the republican party. It was all about anti slavery. So I’m just having a real problem, being the
only thing that motivated him was to win the war. That’s not the —
»» That’s not the only thing that motivated him. »» Okay, I just — or that —
»» Are we ruining something about Lincoln for you? (Laughter). »» Yes, you are! (Laughter). I mean, I’m for all of this, I’ll factor that
into some of my future thinking. But right now, I’m holding onto the fact — my
favorite President is Harry Truman. Now —
»» Why? »» Well, Harry Truman, I guess is all summed
up in a little story I read that is little book I’m sure you’ve read called the “Wit
and Wisdom of Harry Truman”. My Bible. My political Bible is McCollough’s, “The Biography
of Truman.” And in this little Wit and Wisdom book, a
reporter one day asked Strom Thurmond, the Senator from South Carolina who famously said,
in a public speech, “our Negros are happy with their plight.” A reporter asked Thurman, why did he hate
Truman so? Because you were very supportive of Roosevelt. And Truman is not saying or doing anything
more than what Roosevelt did. Thurman replied, yes, that’s true. But Truman means it. (Laughter) Now, if you look at, the Emancipation
Proclamation, is in fact — or was an executive order. That’s what it was. The armed services were integrated in 1948
by Harry Truman by Executive Order. Congress was not going to do it. I think Lincoln demonstrated in 1848 that
Congress was not going to do anything about slavery. So it seem to me that the mere fact that he
used the War Powers to do the Emancipation Proclamation said to me that there was something
within him as a person that made him loathe slavery. That’s just where I am about it. »» May I? »» Sure. Please. »» We’re not saying that there were not
other factors. Certainly Lincoln understood that this was
a moral issue. He said it often that slavery was a moral
issue. And if you look at the end of the Emancipation
Proclamation, he talks about this being an act of justice and he invokes God’s name,
God’s blessings for the most part on what he’s about to do. But he certainly understood that. But he was also a man who was very much wedded
to the Constitution. And he didn’t want to get beyond his authority
in that regard. And so, when Congress would not step up and
do it, he had no other choice but to do it himself. But had the war not occurred, he would have
been willing to let slavery die a natural death. Because he believed the founding fathers put
slavery on the path of extinction, by with the northwest ordinance they were trying to contain slavery
from the giver very beginning. He felt if the country waited long enough if
slavery could be contained it would eventually die a natural death. But he wasn’t an abolitionist, not until
the war occurred. He was anti slavery. He was against the extension but he was not
willing to destroy slavery out right, immediately, he was very much a gradualist. »» Well I seem to feel — I’ve always felt
that Frederick Douglass’ arguments on behalf of blacks fighting in the war, fighting for
their own freedom, had some influence on Lincoln. Because he certainly didn’t have to put that
phrase into the Emancipation Proclamation for it to be effective. I mean it was almost gratuitous to me to put
the language in there about fighting the war unless as you said the numbers were of such
that he needed them in order to win the war. »» Yeah. »» That may be. And I’m perfectly willing to accept that. But I’ve always felt that that meeting that
was — the 1862 meeting, I forgot what month it was, I had to be before September. Robert Smalls was in that meeting with Lincoln
and Frederick Douglas. Smalls if you did not — he did not gain his
freedom until March or May of 1863. So he comes to Washington and he hooks up with
Frederick Douglas and go to this meeting with Lincoln to argue on behalf of black people
fighting in the war. So the question is, could this have happened
without the Emancipation Proclamation? Could they have enlisted the black folks in? »» Well, probably could have. Robert Smalls was already in. »» Right. »» Robert Smalls had been commissioned in
the Army. He was fighting. There were other people fighting in the Army. I don’t think you needed to have the Emancipation
Proclamation in order to — »» Well, black — to have blacks into the
war. »» No, you didn’t. But it helped a lot once you had the proclamation
to give legal authority. »»That’s true but it seemed to me all the people escaping Robert Smalls of the world, bringing their men to encourage to come or even to assist
them in the coming and enlisting in the war. I mean you could have had thousands, hundreds
of thousands of blacks come in into the war with some assistance, if that’s all you wanted
was them to fight the war. »» Right. »» He didn’t have to have the Emancipation
Proclamation to do that. »» Aren’t there generals who don’t really
want African Americans fighters? Some of the officers who really didn’t want
African Americans fighting. »» Absolutely. »» It pushed them. »»Every Democratic party member who was a general
for sure. »»In fact, well, what the proclamation
finally does, because it’s an executive order by the commander in chief it means legally
and before the world, every advance of union Armies and union Navy is a liberating advance,
whether the officers like it or not. Proclamation is actually an order to the union
officers as much as it’s a statement to the world. This war will now free the slaves in the states
in rebellion. And of course, even Lincoln understood that
eventually if you win the war it means the slaves will be freed in Kentucky, and Maryland,
and Missouri as well, Delaware as well, the border states. But it gives a legal authority now. I’ll give you one quick example. I did a little book to Slave Nerd as it were
recently discovered about 10 or 12 years written after the war by who men who were black soldiers,
excuse me they weren’t soldiers actually they were freed during the war. One of them John Washington was freed along
the Rappahannock River in April of 1862. So it’s well before the proclamation. And in his narrative he remembers the — he
gets across the river. He’s met by a contingent of a New York regiment,
he remembers two officers saying to one another do, we have the authority to free this guy? He said one said to the other, I don’t
know but they just freed the slaves in District of Columbia two days ago, what which is how
he was able to date the day he became free. DC emancipation was April 16th, this guy
was freed April 18th. Technically those officers had no authority
to free him. But this is the process that’s already begun. Congress ended slavery in the district with
compensation. Emancipation comes by a crooked road, a very
crooked road. By the time Lincoln signs that proclamation,
a lot has happened including the first major black regiment for South Carolina volunteers. the 54th
regiment. »» It took on the Massachusetts name. Because Robert Shaw, but being were Massachusetts,
those were South Carolinians in the 54th. The name was Massachusetts they were from
South Carolina. »» Okay. I want to — I’m proud of some things about
South Carolina. (Laughter). (Applause). A lot to be proud of South Carolina. »» Ummm. »» You know, I’m learning a whole lot here
today. I’m going to have to go back and stop reading
budgets and start reading history again. »» Okay. (Laughter) Another thing, Edna you can start,
everybody can jump in. You mentioned that this was hugely controversial. No guarantee that this was going to work. No guarantee that vast numbers of union soldiers
won’t throw down their guns and say I’m not in this war anymore. And that did happen. »» Yeah. »» Not on a huge scale but it happened. Then there’s resistance from the confederacy,
that includes edicts about re-enslavement and execution for black soldiers if captured and so forth. The Emancipation Proclamation, correct me if
I’m wrong, radicalized this war and made it far more bloody, for stakes far higher, no
one knew that as well as the confederacy. »» Yeah. The point is the confederacy feared that idea
of a black rebellion to begin with. And so now you the President saying, all of
these people are freed. And they have the right to protect themselves
at the same from violence, but do what you have to — abstain violence but do what you
to do to protect yourselves. Recruiting these men into the military, that’s the biggest rebellion ever, they’re doing it legally under the authority of the nation, under the Union. But this is the rebellion that the confederates
were so afraid of. And so you have the Fort Pillow incident,
these people aren’t even allowed, these men, it’s a fort where there are 600 men. And many of them, most of them I assume are
black troops. And when they try to surrender, they are supposedly
shot down. And so it’s the confederacy deciding we’re
not going to have this, we’re going to shoot black men who are in the Union uniform or
we’re going to sell them into slavery. And they’re not distinguishing between people
who were free born, and people who were run aways from slavery or had been liberated by
the union Army. They don’t care they’re all the same. »» In the minds of die hard committed confederates
an Emancipation Proclamation like this was a recipe for slave insurrection. A recipe for slaves to kill their masters. »» Right. »» And they did. »» And they did. »» They had guns. »» Yeah. But also, it has foreign and diplomatic and
international implications. And Lincoln and many, many, others are perfectly
aware of this. Say a word about that. This proclamation is also aimed abroad. »» Absolutely. It’s not just about stripping the confederacy
of this very strong labor force. Or increasing the size of the Union Army. But it’s also about making sure that the European
powers don’t enter the war on the side of the confederacy. Because the people of Europe, not so much
their leader, and businessmen, but the average citizens of England and France had already
decided that they wanted a freed labor system. And so, when Lincoln decided to tie this war
to emancipation to black freedom, then it was obvious at least from the perspective
of the common man in Europe that they would want to side with the union or want to stay
neutral, they would not want to join the confederacy. »» There’s a tremendous debate especially in
Britain about emancipation in America. Arguably other than Word War II, the Brits had never been so interested in what’s going on in the United States as they were in 1863 ‘, 64 and ’65, it had such implications
for their own classes and cotton. We could go on about that all night. May I get the two of you to say something
about why is this document exciting? Why do people line up? Why do you think people need to see, people need to see the declaration, the Constitution, it’s so famous. But what is it about this document, whatever
it actually says that makes people line up for blocks. »» So, it is the — to form a more perfect
union, is our aspiration, like the Declaration of Independence, it is something that reminds
us when we stray from our better angels to quote Lincoln, that there is a place to that
we can come back to, that there is something that really is our core values, even if we
don’t live up to those core values much of the time, with the showing tonight, I’m not
sure how many of you were able to see it or who came during President’s weekend, there
were lines around the building on the 150th anniversary it was just incredible, it was
so cold outside. There were people who were lined up, lines
for three days. People weren’t in lines for three day, but
there were three days worth of lines. And we did something very special and had
a midnight ceremony on December 31st, 2013, January 1, 2014 to — I’m sorry 2012 and 2013. And we had a ceremony in the rotunda with
singer, with speeches and people were there, Congress was in session at that point. Nancy Pelosi was speaker of the House, she
brought 15 or 20 members of Congress to come for that very special moment. But it was really electric. People who were children of the formerly enslaved,
children of former slave owner, people who were neither, recent immigrants all feeling
that it was America at it’s best, America reaching for it’s highest aspiration. And I think that document and many of the
documents that are here in the National Archives are the things that make us realize who we
can be when we are being our best selves. »» I can’t do any better than that. (Laughter)
»» Your sure? »» I’m a good enough politician not to — try
to improve upon that. (Laughter). Right Governor? (Laughter). »» We so need to be — I mean, every day
we need to be reminded of who we can be, of what the greatness of the nation and what those
original documents –(applause)– said about that. (Applause). We’re going to go the Q&A here in a minute. But since you did that on Watch Night the
12th of the — the 2012 to 2013, 150th anniversary, you can find this in many books, many places,
but that night was celebrated the original was celebrated that night all over the land. South, North, in between. Frederick Douglass in a temple in Boston all
day, actually. Huge, if you have ever seen the temple which
is now a Baptist church, it can sit about 3,000 people. And those who even know this story, my apologies. They had a festive watch day, all day long. They were singing. They were having speeches now and then. They were waiting to get the news by the telegraph. They had runners going to the telegraph office
down the street in Boston. It’s sort of a abolitionist Boston getting
ready for the moment. Actually there were two such gathering in
Boston, the uppity abolitionists were at the Academy of Music but any way — (Laughter)
— this was the black crowd in the temple with some white friends. (Laughter). But then the news wasn’t coming. As you may know. It just wasn’t coming. It was 5:00, then 6:00, 7:00, 8 p.m. it wasn’t
coming, suddenly all those fear, anxieties, about oh my God he might not sign it. It will be some new compromise, Congress got
too involved. (Laughter) Messed up a good executive order. (Laughter) And finally, something like 9:15
the runner comes in, but it go to your point. The runner comes in and has the actual text. And start to try to read it. If you’ve actually read it. It’s not made for Oratory. It’s meant for a courtroom. They drowned him out, they didn’t — they
drowned him out. They didn’t care what it said. Douglass was a old black preacher whose name
was Rueled led the throng in singing old spirituals. They sang Blow The Trumpet, Blow Ye the Trumpet,
many other songs. They just partied. They danced. They jumped up and down, they cheered. They hugged they cried. They were thrown out of the building at midnight,
they only had it rented until then. They gathered at a black church in Union Hills. In Douglass’ words, essentially partied all
night. And he walked out the next day in a little
fluffy snow fall, just before he left Rochester to come to Boston for this celebration, he
showed that he had confidence that this was going to happen because he wrote on the 28th
of December an editorial for his newspaper to be printed the first week of January. Entitled “a day for poetry and song.” Didn’t matter what the text said. Only the states in rebellion, we can pick
this document apart forever. Lincoln doesn’t come out always so pretty. But he comes out sounding like a lawyer, which
is what he was. But they wanted a day for poetry and song. That maybe what still people need. They need to know this thing happened. »» Yeah, when we displayed the Emancipation
Day there were some blog pieces, some op ed pieces like well it’s not really that big
a deal, who cares? You know, it doesn’t really mean that much. Why are we celebrating this? »» An old problem. »» But it is something that gets to the heart
of still the part of America that was not yet free. And also the agency that the enslaved people
had in pushing for their freedom, the role that Frederick Douglass and others played. It wasn’t just Lincoln freeing the slaves. It was what the enslaved people were pushing
for on their own. »» Why does that idea persist? You and I have talked about this before. That idea that well, proclamation didn’t mean
that much? Where did that come from? Why does it persist? »» Well, I think —
»» What do people mean when they say that? Not that you can speak for everybody? »» But I think, and especially now that’s
true. Especially after the — (Low Audio) that definitely
put a damper on things. But I think —
»» The 60s did. General. »» Absolutely. Because even after, by 1876 when Douglass is
doing his oration at the monument to Lincoln, he’s talking about the fact that, he’s feeling
that emancipation has not become what he hoped it would be. And so from that time, even down to the present,
I think, there is dissatisfaction that the promise was not realized. But people had different ideas about what
the proclamation was all about. »» True. »» So Lincoln thought at least initially,
that it was about severing the bounds of slavery. African Americans always thought as equality. And so you —
»» It doesn’t say anything about rights at all. »» Nothing at all. But it is the starting point for those rights. Without the Emancipation Proclamation there
would have been no 13th Amendment. There would have been no 14th and 15th amendment. There would have been — the Civil Rights
Movement takes off from the Emancipation Proclamation. And leaders from the time the proclamation
was issued until today still go back to Lincoln and the proclamation and the possibility that
opened up at the time. »» The first paragraph of King’s I Have
a Dream speech is all about the 100th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. We always remember the last three minutes
of that speech, the dream, it’s only the last three minutes. It’s really — I’ve always call that speech,
and nobody will ever adopt this — but I’ve always called it the greatest Civil War commemoration
speech ever given. There was the greatest emancipation and commemoration speech ever given, that doesn’t come off the tongue like the Dream Speech that’s how he
he lays out the metaphor why are we here? Four time he is uses the refrain “and the Negro
is not free.” He uses it four times. 100 years later and the negro is not free. So without that document. Have you ever gotten out just section one
of the 14th Amendment? I mean, you can’t just take it out of the
thing? (Laughter) Actually take the whole 14th, all
five sections. But I think Section 1 of the 14th Amendment
should rise to that same sacred quality. For some people it has. But Americans don’t line up for blocks and
blocks. Gee, let’s go see the 14th Amendment mom! I don’t think we do. But without emancipation no 13th, 14th, no 15th. Without the 14th amendment This society would probably fly apart. We’re in the National Archives nobody needs
to explain to anybody what the 14th Amendment is right? We’re going to have to have Q&A now. We’ll ask you to go to the microphone, because
there is being recorded and direct your questions or comment to whomever you wish. Yes, sir? »» Last week a day in history the newspaper
on the metro March 13, 1865, confederates pass a law saying that if you as a black African
American serving in the service you will receive your freedom. I’m seeing that this is not correct. Those terms are wrong. I don’t know what I’m seeing on YouTube who
knows — not YouTube, the internet that is saying there were clause, some document that
was passed saying per the terms of your owner, per the terms of your state. Can you please tell me what document that
is? What the interpretation of how that would
work for the people that passed that for that law for the government in the confederate
part of the country? »» Very glad you asked that. And Edna help me here. The confederates too came to the point where
they decided they were going to have to emancipate some slaves in order to get their military
service, this first began with a confederate general named Patrick Clayburn as early as
December of ’63. He was an Irish born confederate. And his argument was, emancipation is going
to happen in this war. We should control it. And over the course 1864 the confederate leadership, military and civilian, and in the southern press, I never understood this into Bruce Lavine’s book, there’s a excellent book
called “Confederate Emancipation.” He showed that this was a rich debate all
over the southern press in 1864. Should they free some male slaves to get them
into the Army? What if they could get 100,000 slave soldiers? Slaves have been used as soldiers throughout
history since antiquity. Now the debate is more than rich. It’s embittered. Hundreds of people writing in and saying,
are you crazy! The whole meaning of this war is lost if we
do this. The point of this war was to preserve slavery. But eventually Jefferson Davis himself, Robert
E. Lee by early ’65 the very last desperate two or three months of the war warmed up to
this policy. That document, I don’t know the source here
of — but that document was the confederate Congress authorizing the recruiting of “some”
slave males into the confederate Army, their owners I think had to be compensated. »» Yes. Yes. »» They were to be promised their freedom. Now, there was a unit or two, out of a hundred
people, no one knows for sure how many actually drilled in Richmond for a week or so. 50 people. It’s 50. You learned it here. 50. Good. But yeah. What Bruce Levine showed us in his book, he
said look this was the confederacy trying to control the reconstruction. Because for those who believed in it, it was
their attempt to say, oh, okay. If this war is going to destroy slavery, at
least most parts of it, we’re going to control race relations when this is over, which would
have meant no right, no liberties, no nothing. It’s a fascinating under-side story of the
Civil War that we really didn’t know that much about until recently. Although it was always there in the record. What impressed me in the Levine book was the
press record of the white southerners really debated this. And they were tortured in this debate. So reeking with irony to read their debate
over this. That document was probably accurate. »» Okay. 50. (Laughter). »» Go over here next. »» Captain Robert Hemingway a native of
Georgetown South Carolina. We’re all over that place. The parts of this document that mention indentureture
and that mention servile insurrection, was there some — insurrection outside of being
black, there were some people that were very very oppressed in the South. I wonder how that applies, in the south I
wonder how that applies, was there servile insurrection, were there slave uprisings in
the plantation, that kind of thing? »» There were people who were arrested that
who were found carrying the Emancipation Proclamation. So, if you were in the confederacy, you could
not be seen with that document. And so some people were charged with attempting
to start an insurrection, but the real insurrection comes when these men joined the Union Army
or Navy. It’s the way the South is looking at it. So to that extent, yes. It does occur. And there are instances even before the proclamation
is issued where it looks like in addition. s County Mississippi — Adams County, Mississippi
there was an attempted insurrection there before the proclamation. But that was quieted very quickly, the men
supposedly involved were rounded up and executed. Because they didn’t want it to get out that
there was that possibility. That black men would rise up. »» It’s very interesting you use the word
indenture, the words are not in the proclamation. But your implication is interesting. I mean, did the emancipation imply poor white
people’s, that what you’re — »» Yeah, persons held to serve or something
along those lines, servitude. »» But the freedmen’s bureau this was created
two years later was created to feed freed people, and indigent others and white people,
to feed the poor refugee people of the South. So this war forced the government to do things
that it had never been before, include feed starving people whether they were white or
black. »» The language people held to labor would
have been found in the Constitution. Because they don’t even mention the word “slave”
or slavery. They just say “others.” People held to labor. »» A euphemism. »» Yes, sir. »» Professor, I’m not an academic, but I
am a stickler for correct quotes, and it must be emphasized when you talk about king’s I
have a dream speech. He has a word you didn’t mention “still is
not free” we have to underline the “still.” To underline the “still”, he did that rhetoricly
with such power. »» You’re quite right. »» I think secondly congressman, I don’t
come from South Carolina, but in Connecticut, on December 31st, we were in church, we were
in church primarily because we called that watch night. We were watching for the freedom that was
coming. So you know, it was 155 years ago, but the
power of the memory of that whole thing is still continuing. Dr. Medford, I really have to express my appreciation
for your keen insights in terms of this whole development. But there is something that I think need to
be lifted and that is, Frederick Douglass wasn’t the only black person knocking at the
door. You mean Daniel Alexander Pain said in his
collections, he talks about his going to the White House and Henry Holland Garnet, the
brothers were down there, they didn’t allow sisters at that time. »» The sisters were there! (Laughter). (Applause). The sisters were there too. Wakanda!
»» Jenkins was working at the contraband camp in Arlington. I have to throw that in. »» I think that your point, it’s so poignant
when you get to the conclusion of the Emancipation Proclamation. It is powerful because it is one time that
the government declares a political perspective that is applicable, that’s why I think that
you see the word “God” at the conclusion of that document. That’s why you see you know, the possibilities. Lincoln was onto something. I don’t know whether he was responsible for
it or one of the black guys talking to him but he was certainly being perceptive. (Laughter) I’d like for you to talk about
some of the other black people and what they were doing and how did they exercise that
kind of influence. »» You’re absolutely right. (Applause). We do have a tendency to concentrate on Douglass,
because he was so, so, dynamic, okay. But there were other people. There were other black abolitionists. So you had the Pervises, John Mercer Langston,
you would have had Henry Highland Garnett, who was a real firebrand, you would have had, Crumell, absolutely. No. »» Crumell was in Africa during the war. »» Was he? »» He came back after the war. »» So you mean people during the war? Okay. Okay. All right. And in terms of women, you would have had
someone like a Charlotte Forton who went South to teach these people who had been liberated
along the coastal areas of South Carolina. (Low Audio). »» And if you actually look at the many
volumes of the documentary history of emancipation which are all done from documents in this
building, way down deep in this building, the greatest documentary project maybe ever,
so many of those documents were written by black women. Just open a volume. Or pick up the one volume called Forever Free
which is the greatest hits of the 7 volumes. Amazing documents by women whose husbands
are off at the front, who lost their brother, who are demanding equal pay from the government,
and they write to President, dear President of the United States, or the government. You know. They don’t care. But it also shows how the war brought this
awareness of government. You used the word “government.” That government can actually do something
ethical. Yeah. Maybe that’s why it’s so sacred. »» You’ve got black women who are serving
as spies. You’ve got Mary Elizabeth Bowser, Jefferson
Davis White House in Richmond. Women were present. They didn’t have the influence, but they were
there. »» Harriet Tubman, what? Why are we mentioning her name? »» Because everybody knows about her. »» I’m not sure. (Laughter). »» I’m not sure everybody knows about her. They know the name. But I mean, I felt she was critical to this
whole effort in your statement in my state, the river, her best to me, her most effective
work was up and down the river. I just think that, I don’t think Frederick
Douglass would have been what he was without Harriet Tubman. To me, she’s number one. Frederick Douglass maybe number two. (Laughter). I have a new biography coming out in October
of Douglass coming out in October, but I will not dispute that. Not now. (Laughter)
»» First just a quick observation. I think the reason for the lines on January
1 of 2013 is that in the public mind, the historians might think that the 13th Amendment
frees the slaves. The lawyers might think that the 13th Amendment
frees the slaves. I think in the public, they believe that the
Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves. I think they’re right. But I think that’s what explains it’s endearing
appeal. But — endearing appeal. Two quick technical questions. One, the proclamation itself, unlike
the preliminary does not refer to “forever free.” »» No, it doesn’t. »» So first question is, does that have
any significance? And the second one my date of birthday is
June 19th. Which I think is Juneteenth, I could never
figure out apparently that has some significance as a day of freedom, but I’ve never been able
to figure out why. If in fact it is Juneteenth? »» Juneteenith is really a Texas who will
day, it was not — everybody celebrated it. But June 19th, 1864 is when the slaves in
Texas found out they were free. So it’s 18 months they stayed in slavery 18
months not knowing that they were free. So June 19th 1864 became Juneteenth, that’s
why celebrate it. Why they celebrate it. »» The question of the omission of fact
forever free? »» It’s actually in the final proclamation,
it’s where Lincoln is quoting from it in the preliminary emancipation. So he did include it. He quotes himself. The beginning. (Laughter)
»» That’s audacity, isn’t it? (Laughter) But the language in the final proclamation
is “thence forward shall be free.” Thence forward is there, but it’s from September
20th. »» No significance? »» Not that it there is a change.. He actually enhances it by saying it twice. »» I had a question, I just wanted to make
a statement about I was over at Lincoln’s cottage this past week, and there was an author
on Stanton. And as an example of Lincoln’s really actually
his strong anti slavery sentiment was that when Stanton got — before Stanton became
Secretary of the War before he was appointed, he wasn’t an abolitionist, he was a democrat. He had never really spoken out against slavery. After he was appointed secretary of war, Lincoln
basically turned him 180 degrees around. And so I thought that was — I just wanted
to make that comment. »» And Stanton gave Lincoln credit for
doing that? »» It just happened. I mean, I’m guessing because he spent a lot
of time with Lincoln, I’m guessing it was because of Lincoln that he turned 180 degrees
around. Also, I have a question. When Lincoln formed this cabinet, and when
he had — right before the war really broke out, when Stewart was negotiating with the
southern leaders as to hopefully prevent the war, was Lincoln perhaps telling the southern
leaders that I’m going to create this national currency? And you know, we’re going to compensate you
big time! I mean, he was — Chase had been the secretary
of treasury. And he created this national currency. I was wondering, could that have actually
been in the works during the hopefully negotiated peace before the war broke out? Could Seward actually, could Lincoln and
Chase and Seward had talked amongst themselves, saying tell them we’re going to create this
national currency we’re going to stabilize the economy. We’re going to pay whatever just to prevent
this war. Because war is always more expensive than
you know, compensation. So I was just curious in you had studied that? If you know anything about that? »» Well, there were many compromise measures
considered in the winter of 1861 from February into March, many compromise measure, including
the old measures of the Missouri Compromise Line and all sorts of things. There was some talk of renewing or revisiting
the question of fugitive slaves. I don’t know of any compromise measure — it
may have been discussed about currency. I mean, the brilliant recreation of the
US currency came during the war as a means of financing the war. In fact one of the greatest triumphs of the
Lincoln Administration was it’s ability to finance this war. The United States government had never done
anything this expensive. I mean it was costing by 1864 I forget the
total number now, $4 or $5 million a week to fight the war. The federal government never even had budgets
like this. But I don’t know — if someone does, please
speak up. Evidence that they were promise ago new currency
because the new currency would provide compensation? There were a lot of compromise measures considered,
none of them worked. None of them worked. Because in effect, Lincoln at least privately,
he said nothing publicly during this winter. But privately, he said no, we draw the line
on slavery’s expansion, slavery will not have a future in any part of the new United States. That was non-negotiable at the time. Parts of it. Yes, Ma’am? »» My name is Janis Parker Watson, from
South Georgia. And I just feel very connected to this subject. First of all my birthday is September 22nd. But my father’s grandfather was actually a
slave and the story is told he was 16 when the Emancipation Proclamation, the emancipation
was proclaimed. And he had run away and was hiding out and
it took some convincing for him to really come out of hiding and accept that he was
free. My grandfather was not born until 1892, but
then he was –1891 but he was named Freeman, or free-man Parker. So by 1963, I was 12 when Martin Luther King,
the Dream speech. And it occurred to me recently I was the same
age as the youngest girl who was killed in Birmingham. Had she lived, Denise McNair, we would be
the same age now. So at the 50th anniversary of the March on
Washington, I held up a sign that said I am Denise McNair. So just my thought. »» Thank you. (Applause). Well, can I just add to that, I don’t remember
where I first read this. But about one-third of all Americans, which
means more than 100 million of us can trace our family directly to someone in the Civil
War. One-third of this vast nation of immigrants
from everywhere now, still one-third of us can trace our people directly. So this is a family story. It always will be. »» My name is Jim. Thank you all for this delightful panel. It was really great. Professor Blight I listen to your class on
Yale open government about Civil War and Reconstruction it’s awesome. The source material, the confederate war widows
really enlightening. My question is on the Emancipation Proclamation
as a piece of political and policy proposal. I don’t think Lincoln campaigned on I. I think
he said if I can not free the slave and keep the union I can do that. Was it something as he was germinating as a nuclear weapon to bring out at the right time. Was it something Stanton or Frank Blair brought to him and they had arguments over? Where did it come from? Did it come from Lincoln, or his staff or
the African American people who were coming to him and beseeching him? »» He had a lot of people trying to get him
to emancipate from the very beginning, actually. He always resisted because he did see this war as one to reunite the union initially. But when he realized that even if they were
able to win the war slavery would still be a issue. It was about what was going to happen the
next time. So he took that into consideration as well. So by the summer of 1862, he had already decided
that he was the one that was going to have to do this. Generals in the field had attempted to do
it. He said no, you can’t do this. If it’s going to be done this way, I’m the
person who’s going to have to do it. So he does decide to do it. It’s not coming from his cabinet. Because he’s reading — he’s sharing this
decision with them after he’s made the decision. And he’s not asking for their approval. He’s just telling them that this is what’s
going to happen. And some of them are startled that he’s gotten
that point. Others are pleased, but are concerned that
the nation is going to see this as a panicky union, so they’re saying, it is Seward who says wait until there is a union victory. And it took awhile for them to get to that. And it wasn’t until Antietam in September,
September 17th, 1862 that they got that victory, slim as it was. It was enough for him to issue the preliminary
proclamation. But this is something that he comes up with
without — I mean he’s hearing what people are saying, why he should be doing this. But the decision is really his in the end. »» I’ll just add to that, I would without
never come from frank Blare the blares weren’t into this at all. He’s also affected by. This go to a question of whether a Douglass
or anyone else in black leadership could have affected Lincoln. He’s clearly affected by the fact that droves
of slaves are escaping to union lines, this is happening from the beginning of the war. This is happening everywhere in late ’61 and
into ’62. What do you do with them? What’s their status? Who are they? What do you call them? What is an escaped slave with a union line? Do you turn them back to their owners? They tried that. That was called denial of asylum, military
language. It did not work. How will you define the loyal owner over a slave
or a disloyal owner of a slave, you couldn’t do that. But the sheer pressure, this is where the
argument about how the slaves frees themselves in some cases comes from. That the sheer number of slaves escaping into
union lines by 1862, and especially as the war expands. Everywhere the war goes in the South, if the
slave population is dense at all, there are hundreds and thousands of slaves escaping
so you have to have a policy now to contend with that. And that policy evolves out of that reality. And part of that reality becomes these things
called contraband, of which there were 25 or more official camps run by the war department
all around the country, the south beginning in ’62 in informal ways and formal ways in
’63. Here’s what we know about numbers. By the way, emancipation is something we should
be — we should celebrate and be joyful about. But lots of people died in the process of
becoming free. The casualty rates in some of those contraband
camp, these the refugee camps to which many freed people managed to get to, Caro Mississippi,
Arlington had a huge one. No, Caro, Illinois,. I’m forgetting,, Corinth, Mississippi had one
of the biggest ones. These became disease centers just like Army
camps, there’s new books, a good one out by Shondra Manning on the contraband camp, we used to think the the records on contraband camps were big enough to write these. But they are. Armies keep record, boy the they ever. They’re all in this building. But there’s this one-side that says about
one of every four freed people that made to it a contraband camp died in the process. So emancipation is not pretty at all. But people still came. People still moved. So the pressure of that is forcing this policy
as well. And you have union officers writing to their
superiors saying, what do I do? I got 50, I got 100 former slaves here. Who are they? What are they? What do I do with them? It’s push and pull from all directions that
brings emancipation. The war emancipating slaves. Lincoln emancipated slave, and the slaves
emancipated themselves all at once. Oh. You’re next. »» We’ll take one more I think. They’re telling me in my ear to take one more. One more. »» Benjamin Roberts. I’d like to read something. This is Howard Zinn’s people’s history of
the United States. And he in 1862 there’s an exchange of letters
between Horace Greeley, the editor of the New York Tribune, he wrote a letter to Lincoln basically
telling him to execute the confiscation laws, he’s upset and he is saying that Lincoln was
equivocating all the time. Lincoln’s response “dear sir I have not meant
to lead anyone in doubt. My paramount objective in this struggle is to
save the union, it’s not to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the union without freeing
any slave I would do it. If I could save it by freeing all the slaves
I would do it. And if I could do it by freeing some and leaving
others alone, I would also do that. He did that under the border states. ” And the states in the north. What I do about slavery and the colored race I do because it
help to save this Union. And what I forbid I forbid because I do not
believe it would help to save the union. I have here stated my purpose according to
my view of my official duty. And I intend no modification of my authored
expressed personal wish that all men everywhere could be free. Yours A Lincoln. I contend that the slaves frees themselves. The proclamation Lincoln couldn’t enforce
the proclamation, if fact it caused a lot of bloodshed afterward, especially one of
the things that you don’t hear anything about in history is Ebenezer Creek in Georgia just
outside Savannah. Sherman’s Army was marching towards the coast, and
you had people following them all along the way from Atlanta. Because he had freed Atlanta. And there were thousands captain Kurr, I think
he was asked to look after these people, and he said there were at least 15,000 Jefferson
Davis. They were crossing the Ebenezer creek, they put the
pontoon bridges down, the Jefferson Davis Army was being followed by General Wheeler
they told the slaves, the people following them to stay behind, so if there’s any contention
they would deal with them first, it was a trick. They pulled up the bridges and left the slaves
behind and Wheeler’s Army just massacred those people, up to 15,000 people. Somebody mentioned Stanton, Lincoln sent
Stanton to find out what was going on because it was bad press. Stanton speaking to Jefferson Davis and Sherman
and nobody paid the price for it. Actually they got promoted and Stanton said
the explanation was fine. How do you have an explanation for 15,000
people dead and it is explained as fine? That’s just my two cents. »» Okay. Thank you. »» That would keep us here a lot longer. But if I could say, what you read was Greeley
sends a letter to Lincoln called the Prayer of the 20 Million. Lincoln is responding to that. When Lincoln is responding with that whole
thing about what I do I do to preserve the Union, you’re absolutely right. But Lincoln has already written the Emancipation
Proclamation when he sends that letter to Greeley, so he’s preparing the nation for what
he’s about to do. You have other people coming to him as well
telling him he need to do, he need to emancipate, he’s giving them the same thing, I will do
whatever is necessary to save the union. When he’s already written the proclamation. I don’t think we give him enough credit for
being a consummate politician. »» Absolutely. »» He really was. He knew how to play the game. In terms of what’s happening with the people
who are — who do die when that he pull up the pontoon boats. Stanton comes down and talk to Sherman, he
and Sherman get together with a group of black leaders in the Savannah area. That’s where a special field order, 15 comes
from. That’s when you get the 40 acres and a mule. They are taking that confiscated land, dividing
it up and gives folks in that area possessory title to the land. Because Sherman really is tired of black people
following his Army and so he gives them the land that he knows they will need to survive. But you’re absolutely right. People died as a consequence of that. And no, no one’s punished. »» There was no more racist general in the Army
when it comes to Sherman, but even he had the free slaves. That’s sometimes one of the great ironies
of this war. (Low Audio). »» Not everyone of them, but most of them
did. Because of Andrew Johnson. »» Andrew Johnson, the Congress gave it
back the them in 1872 if my memory serves. Let me say this Irrespective of whether or not the Emancipation
Proclamation frees the slaves or they freed themselves, the fact of the matter is, they
never would have remained free without the 13th Amendment of the United States Constitution,
that’s a fact. Because any executive order for all intents
and purposes die with that President. And so the 13th Amendment had to be done. And Lincoln did it. Yeah. (Applause). Okay. »» Thank you all for coming. That’s it. Lots of questions still out there. (Laughter). There also will be. Thank you.

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