Emancipation Proclamation



To gain a deeper understanding of President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, you will navigate to the following documents and answer the questions for each document. After you have answered these questions, write a one-page reflection to answer the overall questions: What led President Lincoln to draft the Emancipation Proclamation? What short-term and long-term effects did the Proclamation have? Did the Proclamation, as many historians believe, really change the purpose of the Civil War? Did the Proclamation achieve Lincoln's goals?

Emancipation Proclamation text
1. Upon what authority does Lincoln issue this proclamation?
2. Why is emancipation proclaimed as a "fit and necessary war measure"?
3. Lincoln does not mention the border states of Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, and Missouri, all of which had slaves, but remained part of the Union. What happened to slaves in these states, according to the Proclamation?
4. Comment on the relatively limited emancipation Lincoln proclaimed.
5. How does language of this document contrast with that of Lincoln's more famous speeches like the Gettysburg Address or the Second Inaugural? Why might the Proclamation’s language be more appropriate in this situation and its purpose?

Letter of Mother of a Northern Black Soldier to the President
1. Why was this letter written, i.e., what action(s) does the author request of President Lincoln?
2. Upon what grounds does she make her request?
3. What most concerns her regarding the Proclamation?
4. What do we learn from this letter about emancipation?
5. How would you describe the tone of this letter? Is the tone important? Why or why not?

Frederick Douglass’ recollection of his meeting with Lincoln after the Proclamation had been announced
1. What was happening in the North in 1863, according to Douglass?
2. What was Lincoln worried about?
3. What is Douglass’ conclusion about Lincoln and the Proclamation?

CSA President Davis’ Response to the Proclamation
The public journals of the North have been received containing a proclamation dated on the first day of the present month signed by the President of the United States in which he orders and declares all slaves within ten States of the Confederacy to be free, except such as are found in certain districts now occupied in part by the armed forces of the enemy.

We may well leave it to the instincts of that common humanity which a beneficent Creator has implanted in the breasts of our fellowmen of all countries to pass judgement 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 “to abstain from violence unless in necessary self-defense.”

Our own detestation of those who have attempted the most execrable measure recorded in the history of guilty man is tempered by profound contempt for the impotent rage which it discloses. So far as regards the action of this Government on such criminals as may attempt its execution I confine myself to informing you that I shall unless in your wisdom you deem some other course more expedient deliver to the several State authorities all commissioned officers of the United States that may hereafter be captured by our forces in any of the States embraced in the proclamation that they may be dealt with in accordance with the laws of those States providing for the punishment of criminals engaged in exciting servile insurrection. The enlisted soldiers I shall continue to treat as unwilling instruments in the commission of these crimes and shall direct their discharge and return to their homes on the proper and usual parole.

1. What does Davis fear will happen to slave owners?
2. What is Davis’ threat to Union officers who command Black soldiers?
3. What does Davis say about Blacks as a race?

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