The Lincoln Administration and Arbitrary Arrests: A Reconsideration by Mark E. Neely, Jr
Crittendon Resolution, July 22, 1861
Resolved by the House of Representatives of the Congress of the United States, That the present deplorable civil war has been forced upon the country by the disunionists of the Southern States now in revolt against the constitutional Government and in arms around the capital; that in this national emergency Congress, banishing all feelings of mere passion or resentment, will recollect only its duty to the whole country; that this war is not waged upon our part in any spirit of oppression, nor for any purpose of conquest or subjugation, nor purpose of overthrowing or interfering with the rights or established institutions of those States, but to defend and maintain the supremacy of the Constitution and to preserve the Union, with all the dignity, equality, and rights of the several States unimpaired; and that as soon as these objects are accomplished the war ought to cease.
Frederick Douglass, Douglass' Monthly, September 1861
...The present policy of our Government is evidently to put down the slaveholding rebellion, and at the same time protect and preserve slavery.This policy hangs like a mill-stone about the neck of our people...
Can the friends of that policy tell us why this should not be an abolition war? Is not abolition plainly forced upon the nation as a necessity of national existence? Are not the rebels determined to make the war on their part a war for the utter destruction of liberty and the complete mastery of slavery over every other right and interest in the land? - And is not an abolition war on our part the natural and logical answer to be made to the rebels?...
Another evil of the policy of protecting and preserving slavery, is that it deprives us of the important aid which might be rendered to the Government by the four million slaves. These people are repelled by our slaveholding policy. They have their hopes of deliverance from bondage destroyed. They hesitate now; but if our policy is pursued, they will not need to be compelled by Jefferson Davis to fight against us...
A third evil of this policy, is the chilling effect it exerts upon the moral sentiment of mankind. Vast is the power of the sympathy of mankind... Our policy gives the rebels the advantage of seeming to be merely fighting for the right to govern themselves...
Another evil arising from this mischievous slaveholding policy, is that it invites the interference of other Governments with our blockade... Make this an abolition war, and you at once unite the world against the rebels, and in favor of the Government.
Lincoln's Letter to Horace Greeley, August 22, 1862
I have just read yours of the 19th. addressed to myself through the New-York Tribune. If there be in it any statements, or assumptions of fact, which I may know to be erroneous, I do not, now and here, controvert them. If there be in it any inferences which I may believe to be falsely drawn, I do not now and here, argue against them. If there be perceptable [sic] in it an impatient and dictatorial tone, I waive it in deference to an old friend, whose heart I have always supposed to be right.
As to the policy I "seem to be pursuing" as you say, I have not meant to leave any one in doubt.
I would save the Union. I would save it the shortest way under the Constitution. The sooner the national authority can be restored; the nearer the Union will be "the Union as it was." If there be those who would not save the Union, unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroyslavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing allthe slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause. I shall try to correct errors when shown to be errors; and I shall adopt new views so fast as they shall appear to be true views.
I have here stated my purpose according to my view of official duty; and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men everywhere could be free. Yours,
Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, September 22, 1862
Proclamation Suspending the Writ of Habeas Corpus, September 24, 1862
"Twenty Negro Law," October 11, 1862
The Congress of the Confederate States of America do enact... to secure the proper police of the country, one person, either as agent, owner or overseer on each plantation on which one white person is required to be kept by the laws or ordinances of any State, and on which there is no white male adult not liable to do military service, and in States having no such law, one person as agent, owner or overseer, on each plantation of twenty negroes, and on which there is no white male adult not liable to military service; And Furthermore, For additional police for every twenty negroes on two or more plantations, within five miles of each other, and each having less than twenty negroes, and of which there is no white male adult not liable to military duty, one person, being the oldest of the owners or overseers on such plantations;... are hereby exempted from military service in the armies of the Confederate States;... Provided, further, That the exemptions hereinabove enumerated and granted hereby, shall only continue whilst the persons exempted are actually engaged in their respective pursuits or occupations.
Anon. Georgia Soldier, Atlantic Southern Confederacy, 30 October 1862
...I cannot for my life see how it is, that because the institution of slavery elevates the social position of the poor man, that therefore the poor should fight the battles of our country, while the rich are allowed to remain at home and to enjoy ease and pleasure...If poor men mush fight, the rich ought to pay the expenses of the fight. The poor men who are now in the army are patriots. They deem no sacrifice too great to be made; no privation too severe to be borne for liberty. They leave home and friends for country's sake. Let the appeal be made to their patriotism, to the justice of our cause, but for God's sake don't tell the poor soldier who now shivers in a Northern wind while you snooze in a feather bed, that it is just and right that the men, whom Congress has exempted, should enjoy ease at home, amassing untold riches, while he must fight, bleed, and even die, for their ten negroes. If we are ever whipped, it will be by violations of our own constitution, infringements of justice and right. When burdens are borne equally, dangers must be also. People's eyes may be closed by glaring newspaper pleas of necessity and right, but they will at some time be opened. Then, if ever, we will be whipped.