Emancipation

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November 18, 2014 by Lorene

In March of 1862, Lincoln “asked the legislature to pass a join resolution providing federal aid to any state willing to adopt a plan for the gradual abolition of slavery.  The resolution called upon states to stipulate that slaves within their borders would be freed upon attaining a certain age or specify a date after which slavery would no longer be allowed.” Lincoln felt that border slave states would rather take the aid than see the union dissolve. However, the states’ legislatures would not comply.

The Republican Congress, free from southern state opposition, sent a bill to Lincoln to sign freeing slaves in the District of Columbia. Also. they passed the Homestead Act, which promised 160 acres of land in the West to settlers who would stay on it for five years. They also passed the Morrill Act, which provided public land for land grant colleges, and the Pacific Railroad Act, which made possible the construction of the transcontinental railroad.

This congress also passed laws that created paper money, established the IRS and a federal tax.

Then, Lincoln signed a bill freeing slaves in the confederacy states. He didn’t want to sign it because there were no enforcement mechanisms.

Later this year, Lincoln started thinking of another way to win the war. He came upon the idea that if he emancipated all slaves, the south would have to surrender. The slaves could join the northern army and the confederacy wouldn’t have anyone to do all the tasks the slaves were contributing to the war effort. He would free the slaves to save the union.

He waited until a big military victory by the union at Antietam and on September 23, published his pledge to issue an Emancipation Proclamation effective January 1, 1863.

On this day, he issued his proclamation, adding that freed slaves were welcome to join the union army.

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