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Forum Post: 150 years ago today Our greatest President took an early step towards Fairness & Freedom for all the 99%

Posted 2 years ago on Sept. 22, 2012, 9:29 a.m. EST by VQkag2 (16478)
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Lincoln’s Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation of Sept. 22, 1862, and the course of U.S. history

Dr. Stanley Harrold

One hundred and fifty years ago, during the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln issued his Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation on Sept. 22, 1862. This proclamation warned the Confederate states that if they remained in rebellion against the U.S. on Jan. 1, 1863, Lincoln (as commander in chief) would on that day declare all slaves to be free in areas under Confederate control. The preliminary proclamation thereby became an important part of a series of events that changed the nature of the Civil War, revised the meaning of the U.S. Constitution and altered the course of American and especially African-American history. It is a story that goes well beyond Lincoln.

As ratified in 1788, the U.S. Constitution supported the enslavement of African-Americans. The three-fifths clause gave masters enhanced representation in Congress and the Electoral College. The fugitive slave clause provided that slaves who escaped across state lines would not become free. Instead they would be returned to their masters.

But growing Northern opposition to slavery, and Northern resistance to the return of escaping slaves, undermined white Southern support of the Union. Starting with South Carolina in December 1860, 11 lower South and middle South states seceded. They did so because the great majority of their citizens believed the U.S. government under newly elected Republican President Lincoln would seek to end slavery throughout the country. In February 1861, the Confederate States of America came into being. Yet Lincoln and his party had not called for ending slavery in the Southern states. They only opposed the expansion of slavery. Lincoln and his party in 1860 and 1861 did not stand for emancipation, black citizenship or black rights. In fact from 1860 into 1862, Lincoln enforced the Fugitive Slave Law. He