Since today is Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, I would like to discuss one of his most well-known documents. The Emancipation Proclamation was supposed to have set the slaves free. But was that the case?
The proclamation clearly says that only slaves in the Confederate States of America were to be freed, effective Jan. 1, 1863. Southern history reveals that Lincoln had no authority over the Confederacy because the Southern states had formed their own government in 1861. Jefferson Davis was its president.
So, since Lincoln was not in charge of the CSA, what was the purpose of the proclamation? I can only guess that Lincoln was hoping that slaves would revolt and start a rebellion. Southern history has no record of any such actions from any slaves in the South during the War Between the States.
Furthermore, the only slaves mentioned in the proclamation were in the South, where Lincoln had no authority. If Lincoln wanted to free all slaves, why didn’t he also direct his proclamation to slaves in the North where he had actual authority? By that reasoning, only slaves in the District of Columbia would have been freed by him while he was president. Washington, D.C., celebrates this occasion every April.
In Missouri, on Aug. 30, 1861, Union Gen. John C. Fremont instituted martial law and declared slaves there free. Lincoln, however, countermanded Fremont’s emancipation order because it did not conform with the Confiscation Act of 1861, which freed only slaves used by Confederates to aid its war effort. Yet historians want to brag that Lincoln was the “Great Emancipator.”
The whole thing was nothing more than a political ploy, and had no authority. What did free black people was the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.