Lincoln's Constitutional Dilemma: Emancipation and Black SuffrageSkip other details (including permanent urls, DOI, citation information)
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Abraham Lincoln has gotten bad press on the topics of emancipation and civil rights for blacks. Much revered as the "Great Emancipator" in the earlier part of this century, Lincoln in the post-World War II era became the "Reluctant Emancipator," Among historians, it became fashionable in the 1950s and 1960s to dissociate Lincoln from his Radical Republican colleagues because of his seeming reluctance to interfere with slavery. According to these critics, the president took his time abolishing slavery; he appeared to like the idea of black suffrage even less. Describing Lincoln's moves to destroy the peculiar institution, one historian has characterized them as "tortoise-like." Another has declared: "If General McClellan had 'the slows' when it came to advancing against the Confederate army, [Lincoln] had the same affliction when it came to attacking slavery." Even in the most recently published text in United States history, a work entitled A People and A Nation, the authors stress Lincoln's deliberate caution in repudiating slavery; Lincoln, they argue, "would not let his personal feelings determine his political acts." Fredrick Douglass, renowned black spokesman for equal rights, apparently concurred. In Douglass's estimation Lincoln was "preeminently the Page [End Page 25] white man's president." 
Historians have used Lincoln's own words to prove their assertion. They note, for example, his comment to a Cincinnati audience in 1859: "I now assure you, that I neither ... had, nor have, nor ever had, any purpose in any way of interfering with the institution...." or they quote from Lincoln's statement to Horace Greeley, editor of the New York Tribune: "My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or destroy slavery."  And they emphasize the pressure upon Lincoln to move toward emancipation: international considerations and almost daily visits from Radical Republicans or Page [End Page 26] humanitarian groups demanding abolition. Thus by innuendo if not by direct statement, the Emancipation Proclamation was neither a humanitarian act nor a reflection of Lincoln's ideals. Lincoln's detractors suggest other motives. At best the proclamation was an astute measure designed to keep Great Britain from recognizing the Confederacy; less charitably, Lincoln's signature may have represented a mere concession to Radicals and other reformers lobbying tirelessly about the president.
This is a compromising picture of Lincoln the president, showing him sharply changed from Lincoln the aspiring politician of the 1850s. "I confess myself," he said in 1858, "as belonging to that class in the country who contemplate slavery as a moral, social, and political evil ... and look hopefully to the time when as a wrong it may come to an end."  The view that Lincoln was reluctant on slavery implies a complete change of attitude once he took the presidential oath. Nothing could be further from the truth. Even as late as 1864 his ethical views were unqualified. "I am naturally anti-slavery," he wrote. "If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong. I can not remember when I did not so think, and feel." 
Inferring from Lincoln's words in the 1860s a reluctance toward abolition, historians have largely misjudged his position. At heart, Lincoln doubted any constitutional basis for emancipating the nation's slaves; he was not sure that federal authorities had such a mandate. Beyond that, Lincoln had always to measure his words. As president, he was in fact responsible to the diversity of public opinion on abolition, and he had, as a political reality, to please all factions whatever his personal view. Were he to speak forth in too liberal a tone, he might well alienate those Americans supporting the war but opposed to abolition; anything too conservative, in turn, could produce criticism from the Radicals. Taken together, the president's words and efforts leave no reasonable doubt. Lincoln was committed to a free society and amenable to some limited form of black suffrage. And he moved with more conviction and even haste than he has been given credit for doing. Page [End Page 27]
In the first year of the war, Lincoln feared chiefly that any move toward abolition might cause the border slave states, especially Missouri and Kentucky, to secede. In Missouri, Confederate and Union forces were battling for control in 1861; Kentucky had declared its neutrality, and Lincoln dared take no overt action lest the state be driven into the Confederacy. His judicious care in handling these states brought him into open conflict with General John C. Frémont in Missouri. Specifically, he countermanded Frémont's 1861 proclamation freeing the slaves of disloyal Missourians — a move some historians say is indicative of Lincoln's reluctance.  But the president had news, in fact, from western volunteers. They would stop fighting, they said, if Frmont's proclamation were not annulled. Coupled with an awareness that the pro-Union Kentucky legislature was demanding his intercession, the president hesitated no longer and rescinded the order. As Lincoln said: "I think to lose Kentucky is nearly the same as to lose the whole game. Kentucky gone we could not hold Missouri; nor, as I think Maryland." Quite apart from these considerations, and even before the border states were firmly in Union hands, Lincoln was at work on the slavery issue. As early as 1861 he was formulating plans for emancipation, while doubts about the loyalty of Missouri and Kentucky lingered into early 1862. Only in that year did the battles of Pea Ridge and Mill Springs finally guarantee these states for the Union.
A more important restraint on Lincoln was his conviction that the United States Constitution prohibited the federal government from abolishing slavery in states where it existed. Lincoln's high regard for the Constitution cannot be disputed. As early as 1837 he told a Young Men's Lyceum in Springfield, Illinois: "We must maintain a reverence for the Constitution and the laws." Later in the same year he presented resolutions in the state legislature, declaring: "Congress ... has no power under the Consititution to interfere with ... slavery in the different states." He echoed the same belief in 1859: "I believe we have not the power ... to interfere with ... slavery, or any other of the institutions of our sister states." And he carried the theme further Page [End Page 28] in his first inaugural: "I have no purpose directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so...."
Despite his reservations, Lincoln did move forward on emancipation. Evidence indicates that he was beginning to devise emancipation schemes as early as November 1861 — a mere eight months after his inauguration. On November 18 he informed George Bancroft, the historian, of his interest in emancipation — a problem to be handled with "all due caution, and with the best judgment I can bring it." Two weeks later in his annual message to Congress, the president requested a congressional law to bestow freedom on slaves who were fleeing to Union lines — a request Congress granted three months after.  Page [End Page 29]
In ensuing weeks, Lincoln launched an effort to secure gradual, compensated emancipation in the border slave states. This approach he believed most viable, as it solved his constitutional dilemma. There could be no question about the constitutional legitimacy of state action. If the individual states were empowered to legalize slavery, they might just as legally abolish it. In Lincoln's own words, his gradual, compensated plan set "up no claim of a right, by federal authority, to interfere with slavery.... It is proposed as a matter of perfectly free choice with" the border slave states themselves. 
Gradual emancipation was the focus of Lincoln's plan; Delaware was his first target. Delaware as a choice was no surprise: pro-Union sentiment was stronger there than in the other border states. Slavery in the state was correspondingly weak: there were only 1,798 slaves in the entire state. At any rate, in December 1861 Lincoln worked out a legislative act with George P. Fisher, a Union-Republican representative from Delaware in Congress; it was Fisher who, according to plan, should get the bill introduced and passed by the state legislature. Under its terms, Delaware would abolish slavery over a period of years; in return, the federal government would grant the state $719,200 as compensation to slaveholders. Unfortunately, the plan died there. Rumor of its inception invoked such strong opposition that its backers declined to bring it before Delaware's legislators at all. 
Undaunted Lincoln continued his campaign for gradual, compensated emancipation. First, in March 1862 — after he had been in office only one year — he asked for and secured from Congress a resolution favoring the idea. Next, he held conferences with representatives from the border slave states over a five month period — from March to July 1862 — and tried to persuade them to support his government-financed scheme: gradual emancipation over thirty years and federal compensation of $400 for each slave freed. Arguing that the Union could not be restored with slavery intact, Lincoln presented his plan as a means by which these states might abolish slavery at no cost to themselves. In a variety of appeals Lincoln continued his efforts until late summer. But the scheme pleased very few. Citizens in the border states and northern conservatives alike denied Congress's power to appropriate federal funds for compensated emancipation; Radicals rejected the plan as "the most diluted, milk-and-water-gruel pro- Page [End Page 30] position that was ever given to the American nation." Still, Lincoln would not be dissuaded. In his annual message of December 1862, he proposed a constitutional amendment authorizing Congress to compensate slaveowners in those states that passed legislation freeing their slaves.
Even as he crusaded for emancipation in the border states, Lincoln was finalizing plans for military emancipation in the Confederacy. Charles Sumner early took up the charge: ever since the firing on Fort Sumter in April 1861, he had been urging emancipation by military edict in the rebellious states. Lincoln at first seemed unimpressed by Sumner's argument. Either that, or he was unwilling to undertake emancipation by military decree while working to secure abolition in the border states. Once it became apparent, however, that the border states would reject gradual emancipation, Lincoln moved with resolution on his military edict. On July 13, 1862, the day after his final meeting with border state representatives, the president broached military emancipation with Gideon Welles and William Seward, entrusted members of his cabinet. Gaining a favorable response, Lincoln then presented the terms of the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation to his entire cabinet on July 22 and indicated his eagerness to issue the document immediately. Only Seward's suggestion that he wait for a Union military victory caused Lincoln to hesitate, and reconsider the timing. 
Between the cabinet meeting in July and the issuance of the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862, Lincoln sought to prepare the citizenry for its impact. Hence the letter to Horace Greeley on August 22, in which Lincoln offered ample justification of his views on slavery vis à vis the Union. "My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by Page [End Page 31] freeing all the 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 salvery 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 save the Union." Cited by itself and without reference to Lincoln's July 22 Cabinet meeting, the passage indicates reluctance toward abolition on Lincoln's part. However, when the letter is given proper chronological context, showing that Lincoln had already formulated the Emancipation Proclamation and was merely awaiting the propitius moment for its announcement, the statement takes on a different tone. It was Lincoln's own way of softening the blow of military emancipation for the conservative elements. In a sense, he was preparing the public for what he knew was to come. By stressing the Union as his primary concern, Lincoln hoped to make emancipation more palatable for those opposing it. And, of course, the best way to reach as wide an audience as possible was through the New York Tribune, the largest newspaper in the nation. Even as he issued the final document to the nation in 1863, Lincoln continued to stress the theme of military necessity for emancipation.
Civil War contemporaries and historians alike have criticized the Emancipation Proclamation. It did not free any slaves on the day it was promulgated; slavery was left undisturbed in the border states and in those portions of the Confederacy in Union hands; only the slaves in areas of rebellion were declared to be free. This semi-abolition approach stemmed not from Lincoln's reluctance to terminate slavery, as some historians imply, but rather from his own doubts about the federal government's lack of authority to touch slavery in the loyal areas. The Emancipation Proclamation itself he regarded as a legitimate weapon of war — an act of confiscation "warranted by the Constitution upon military necessity," and an act that could apply only to areas still engaging in insurrection. 
Still other Lincoln detractors have criticized the proclamation as superfluous. Congress, after all, in July 1862 had passed the Page [End Page 32] Second Confiscation Act, a bill permitting military commanders to free slaves in the Confederacy. But the Confiscation Act was far more limiting than the Emancipation Proclamation. Loyal slaveholders were exempted from its provisions, and it did not set up legal procedures to be followed. As some constitutional historians have maintained, the act would have necessitated freeing slaves in case by case litigation in the federal courts. Lincoln's proclamation, to the contrary, was a sweeping measure which freed all slaves in unconquered portions of the Confederacy — of loyalists and rebels alike. 
Despite his defense of the proclamation as a military measure, Lincoln retained lingering doubt about its constitutionality. While he felt the courts would sustain it as a war measure, he questioned its force once peace were proclaimed. "A question might be raised," he conceded, "whether the proclamation is legally valid. It might be urged that it only aided those that came into our lines, and that is was inoperative as to those who did not give themselves up." Moreover, the courts might decide that the terms of the proclamation did not extend to the children of slaves freed by it. Whether in jest or in sheer resignation, Lincoln suggested that the government encourage as many slaves as possible Page [End Page 33] to flee to Union lines before the fighting stopped. 
During 1863 Lincoln must have mulled over the various piecemeal attempts at abolition. No clear program had been devised. The border states had refused to consider gradual emancipation. Even though the proclamation was having its effect in the Confederacy, Lincoln feared that some blacks might remain in bondage after the war's end. He was looking for greater guarantees. Therefore, it was only natural that he support a constitutional amendment abolishing slavery throughout the nation when such a measure was introduced in Congress late in the year.
Despite the president's encouragement, the amendment failed to pass the House in the spring of 1864. Lincoln now became more aggressive. At his request Republicans incorporated a call for an abolition amendment into their 1864 national platform. In his annual address in 1864, the president encouraged Congress to consider the amendment once again. And this time, after its second introduction in Congress, he used the full powers of his office to secure the amendment's passage. With both conservative Republicans and opposition Democrats, Lincoln argued the necessity for the amendment; to wavering Congressmen he made patronage promises. When passage seemed doubtful, he went so far as to release from military prisons certain rebels who were related to Democratic members of Congress. Indeed, Lincoln's actions caused Thaddeus Stevens, one of the most ardent Radicals in Congress, to remark: "The greatest measure in the nineteenth century was passed by corruption, aided and abetted by the purest man in America." 
If the Thirteenth Amendment passed Congress by less than honorable means, Lincoln felt no chagrin. It achieved total abolition and there could be no question about its constitutionality. "This amendment is a King's cure for all evils. It winds the whole thing up," he told an audience shortly after its passage. Savoring his accomplishment further, Lincoln added: "If the people over Page [End Page 34] the river had behaved themselves, I could not have done what I have."
Lincoln's endeavors in behalf of black suffrage were even more startling. Although he openly declared his opposition to equal suffrage in 1858, he became more receptive to the idea during the war. On the eve of his assassination he publicly advocated voting rights for some blacks. The road he took toward equal suffrage was similar to that which led him to emanicpation. When first convinced of the reform's necessity, he tried to achieve action at the state level. Failing that he alluded to the topic in private conservation and in one public address. Finally, he indicated his willingness to secure the reform by federal legislation.
Black suffrage was not an item in Lincoln's Reconstruction Proclamation of 1863. The topic was still to inflammatory, and the president doubted his authority to demand it because the states were responsible for establishing their own voting requirements. But he was certainly aware of equal suffrage as a burning issue. Salmon P. Chase, secretary of the treasury, objected to Lincoln's reconstruction plan during cabinet discussion because it did not enfranchise southern blacks. Shortly after Lincoln's reconstruction scheme was made public, James Ashley, Ohio radical in the House of Representatives, introduced his own version. Ashley called outright for black suffrage in the seceded states. But the bill was superceded by the milder Wade-Davis bill, which like Lincoln's plan did not mention suffrage. Charles Sumner made the issue more compelling: almost daily he appeared at the White House to argue the merits of equal suffrage. "Slowly," reports David Donald, "both Senator and President came to conclude that the only realistic guarantee [for the protection of freedmen] was to give former slaves the ballot."
A delegation who came before the president to plead the cause of loyal, black Louisianans may have made the pivotal impression on Lincoln. The group was headed by Jean Baptiste Roudanez and Arnold Bertonneau, educated mulatto Creoles and New Orleans businessmen. In their presence, Lincoln remained noncommittal, stressing the inability of the federal government to Page [End Page 35] confer suffrage on private citizens. But the next day he wrote to loyalist Governor Michael Hahn of Louisiana, saying: "Now you are about to have a [constitutional] Convention which, among other things, will probably define the elective franchise. I barely suggest for your private consideration, whether some of the colored people might not be let in — as, for instance, the very intelligent and especially those who have fought gallantly in our ranks."  As the border states had reacted to Lincoln's suggestion of gradual emancipation, so Louisiana now responded to his suggestion of limited suffrage. Its constitutional convention failed to enfranchise any blacks but instead referred the question to the state legislature, meaning that suffrage never would be granted in Louisiana.
During the fall of 1864 Lincoln raised the black suffrage issue to various dignitaries visiting the White House. He also indicated his willingness to consider approval of a reconstruction measure then being discussed in Congress. In actuality a revision of the Wade-Davis bill which he vetoed the previous August, this new measure was more palatable. It omitted clauses Lincoln had opposed and gave specific recognition to his reconstructed government in Louisiana. Of greater significance, the bill extended the ballot to black servicemen and secured their right to participate in the reconstruction process. Still the advance was unacceptable to certain Radicals, and they amended the bill, granting suffrage to all black men. Accordingly the measure went down to defeat and never reached the president's desk. 
By the early months of 1865 Lincoln's more liberal stand on racial issues was strengthening. Even as he was promoting the Thirteenth Amendment, he was reaching the conclusion that Congress could impose limited, black suffrage. Shortly, he would approve the Freedmen's Bureau Bill. Lincoln's less equivocal attitude did not go unnoticed. Hugh McCulloch, recently sworn in as secretary of the treasury, ventured that Lincoln might even favor a suffrage amendment. B. Gratz Brown informed the Missouri legislature, then debating a bill to abolish slavery, that it might also consider enfranchising some blacks because such ac- Page [End Page 36] tion "was [being] prompted by the executive head of our nation himself." William Lloyd Garrison, Moncure D. Conway, Wendell Phillips, and Salmon P. Chase — each in turn believed that Lincoln had come to accept black suffrage.
Not only was Lincoln finding black suffrage more tolerable, but by April 11 he was willing to make his cause public, or undertake the "preparatory work," as he phrased it. Reviewing his efforts in Louisiana to a crowd gathered at the White House, Lincoln noted the convention's failure to enfranchise blacks. "I would myself prefer that [suffrage] were now conferred on the very intelligent, and those who served our cause as soldiers," he admitted. And this sentiment applied to other southern states as well, he assured his listeners; soon it might become necessary to make some new announcement to the people of the South, "when satisfied that action will be proper." Some historians attach capital importance to these particular remarks as an indication of change on Lincoln's part.  Actually they did not. The change had come earlier. If he had used his letter to Greeley to prepare conservatives for emancipation, he now seemed intent on readying the public for black suffrage. But the point will always remain debatable; whatever plans Lincoln may have had were cut short by the assassin's bullet.
During his presidency, Lincoln took a reasoned course which helped the federal government both destroy slavery and advance the cause of black suffrage. For a man who had denied both reforms four years earlier, Lincoln's change in attitude was rapid and decisive. He was both open-minded and perceptive to the needs of his nation in a postwar era. Once committed to a principle, Lincoln moved toward it with steady, determined progress. As Maria Lydia Child remarked: "I think we have reason to thank God for Abraham Lincoln. With all his deficiencies, it must be admitted that he has grown continually." Lincoln himself told Frederick Douglass: "I think it cannot be shown that when I have Page [End Page 37] once taken a position, I have ever retreated from it."
Despite his moves forward, Lincoln still received criticism for his so-called "reluctance" from Radical Republicans. In their zealous quest to end slavery and secure civil equality for blacks, many Radicals were prone to disdain all obstacles and disregard the feelings of the conservative element opposed to emancipation and black suffrage. As a president attempting to reunite angry factions in North and South, Lincoln had to move with greater caution. It was he who had to persuade conservatives that racial reform was in the best interest of the nation, and he who had to erode by legal means the constitutional barriers that impeded progress. His was far the more difficult task, and as a result he appeared less advanced on racial issues. Lincoln recognized this fact himself. As he told Charles Sumner, "the only difference between you and me on this subject is the difference of a month and six weeks in time."  Unlike the Radicals, Lincoln did not rush into emancipation immediately. Instead he took steps that weakened slavery and made the Thirteenth Amendment more acceptable when it came. Unlike the Radicals, Lincoln never advocated unlimited black suffrage. But in supporting the enfranchisement of educated blacks and those who had served in the military, he was driving a wedge which, in time, would make unqualified black suffrage less repugnant to most white Americans. Lincoln and the Radicals may have stood apart on the means of achieving racial reform but in the end their goal was the same. Page [End Page 38]
- William B. Hesseltine, Lincoln's Plan of Reconstruction [Chicago, 1960], pp. 133–135; T. Harry Williams, Lincoln and the Radicals [Madison, Wisconsin, 1941], pp. 357–360; Benjamin Quarles, The Negro in the Civil War [Boston, 1953], pp. 132–163; Richard N. Current, The Lincoln Nobody Knows [New York, 1958], pp. 220–221; Mary Beth Norton et al, A People and A Nation: A History of the United States, 2 vols. (Boston, 1982), 1: 380. Literature on Lincoln and racial issues arising out of the Civil War is too extensive to discuss here. Aside from books and articles cited in the following notes, recent studies include Don E. Fehrenbacher, "Only His Stepchildren: Lincoln and the Negro," Civil War History, 20 (1974): 293–310; George M. Fredrickson, "A Man but Not a Brother: Abraham Lincoln and Racial Equality," Journal of Southern History, 41 (1975): 39–58; Mark E. Neely, Jr., "Abraham Lincoln and Black Colonization: Benjamin Butler's Spurious Testimony," Civil War History, 15 (1975): 77–83; Ludwell Johnson, "Lincoln and Equal Rights: The Authenticity of the Wadsworth Letter," Journal of Southern History, 32 (1966): 83–87; Johnson, "Lincoln and Equal Rights: a Reply," Civil War History, 13 (1967): 66–73; Harold M. Hyman, "Lincoln and Equal Rights for Negroes: The Irrelevancy of the 'Wadsworth Letter,'" Civil War History, 12 (1966): 258–266; Bruce Catton, The Inescapable Challenge Lincoln Left Us (Springfield, Illinois, 1970); Jason H. Silverman, "In Isles Beyond the Main: Abraham Lincoln's Philosophy on Black Colonization," Lincoln Herald, 80 (1978): 115–121; Marvin R. Cain, "Lincoln's Views of Slavery and the Negro: A Suggestion," The Historian, 26 (1964): 502–520; Otto Olson, "Abraham Lincoln as Revolutionary," Civil War History, 24 (1978): 213–224; Jacque Voegeli, Free but Not Equal: The Midwest and the Negro During the Civil War (Chicago, 1967); Benjamin Quarles, Lincoln and the Negro (New York, 1962); Kenneth M. Stampp, "Race, Slavery and the Republican Party," in Stampp, The Imperiled Union (New York, 1980), pp. 105–135.
- John G. Nicolay and John Hay, eds. Abraham Lincoln: Complete Works, 2 vols., (New York, 1894), 1: 559, hereafter Works; Lincoln to Horace Greeley, 22 August 1862, in Roy P. Basler, eds. The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, 9 vols., (Rutgers, New Jersey, 1953–1955), 5: 388, hereafter, Collected Works.
- See for example John Hope Franklin, The Emancipation Proclamation (New York, 1963), pp. 1–30.
- Speech in Galesburg, Illinois, 7 October 1858, in Basler, ed. Collected Works, 3: 226.
- Lincoln to Albert G. Hodges, 4 April 1864, in Basler, ed. Collected Works, 7: 281.
- See Quarles, Negro in Civil War, pp. 67–68.
- Lincoln to Orville H. Browning, 22 September 1861, in Basler, ed. Collected Works, 4: 531–533.
- Clement Eaton, A History of the Southern Confederacy (New York, 1954), pp. 156–157; James G. Randall and David Donald, The Civil War and Reconstruction (Boston, 1969), pp. 200–203.
- Nicolay and Hay, eds. Works, 1: 15, 559; Basler, ed. Collected Works, 4: 263; Allan Nevins, The War for the Union: The Improvised War, 1861–1862, 2 vols., (New York, 1959), 1:213; James G. Randall and Richard N. Current, Lincoln the President, 4 vols., (New York, 1945–1955), 2: 126; James G. Randall, Constitutional Problems Under Lincoln (Urbana, Illinois, 1964), pp. 350–351.
- John G. Nicolay and John Hay, Abraham Lincoln: A History, 10 vols., (New York, 1890), 5: 202–203; Lincoln to George Bancroft, 18 November 1861, in Basler, ed. Collected Works, 5: 25–26, and annual message, 48–49.
- Basler, ed. Collected Works, 5: 145.
- Nicolay and Hay, Lincoln, 5: 204–217.
- Congressional Globe, Cong., 2d sess., p. 1154; Nevins, War for the Union, 2: 31–34, 91–94, 114–118; Herman Belz, Reconstructing the Union: Theory and Policy during the Civil War (Itaca, New York, 1969), pp. 74–75; Stephen B. Oates, Our Fiery Trail: Abraham Lincoln, John Brown, and the Civil War Era (Amherst, Massachusetts, 1979), pp. 75–77; Nicolay and Hay, Lincoln, 5: 209, 221–222; Randall, Constitutional Problems, pp. 368–369.
- Basler, ed. Collected Works, 5: 518–537; Randall, Constitutional Problems, pp. 368–369.
- Gideon Welles, The Diary of Gideon Welles, 3 vols., (Boston, 1911), 1: 70–71; David Donald, Charles Sumner and the Rights of Man (New York, 1970), pp. 16–17, 54; Belz, Reconstructing the Union, pp. 100–103; Franklin, Emancipation Proclamation, pp. 31–38.
- Lincoln to Horace Greeley, 22 August 1862, in Basler, ed. Collected Works, 5: 338–339.
- Basler, ed. Collected Works, 5: 433–436; Richard O. Curry, "The Civil War and Reconstruction, 1861–1877: A Critical Overview of Recent Trends and Interpretations," Civil War History, 20: 222–223.
- Franklin, Emancipation Proclamation, p. 131; James Ford Rhodes, A History of the United States from the Compromise of 1850, 7 vols., (New York, 1893–1906), 4: 213n; Nicolay and Hay, eds. Works, 2: 397.
- Oates, Fiery Trial, p. 77.
- Randall, Constitutional Problems, pp. 382–385; Randall and Current, Lincoln, 2: 192; Nicolay and Hay, Lincoln, 10: 353–355; Basler, ed. Collected Works, 8: 254.
- Hans L. Trefousse, The Radical Republicans: Lincoln's Vanguard for Racial Justice (Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 1968), pp. 295–300; Basler, ed., Collected Works, 6: 172–173; Oates, Fiery Trial, pp. 82–83; Randall and Current, Lincoln, 2: 192; Randall, Constitutional Problems, p. 315; Fawn Brodie, Thaddeus Stevens: Scourge of the South (New York, 1959), p. 204.
- Basler, ed. Collected Works, 8: 254; Oates, Fiery Trial, p. 82.
- Belz, Reconstructing the Union, pp. 136–183, passim; Payton McCrary, Abraham Lincoln and Reconstruction: The Louisiana Experiment (Princeton, New Jersey, 1978), p. 7; John Hay, Lincoln and the Civil War in the Diaries and Letters of John Hay, ed., Tyler Dennett (Westport, Connecticut, 1939), pp. 132–134; New York Tribune, 23 December 1863; Donald, Sumner, pp. 207–208.
- Donald Edward Everett, "Free Persons of Color in New Orleans" (Ph. D. dissertation, Tulane University, 1952), p. 343; Lincoln to Michael Hahn, 13 March 1864, in Basler, ed. Collected Works, 8: 243.
- Belz, Reconstructing the Union, pp. 240–263; Hay, Lincoln in Civil War, pp. 245–246; James McPherson, The Struggle for Equality: Abolitionists and the Negro in the Civil War and Reconstruction (Princeton, New Jersey, 1964), pp. 308–309.
- Belz, Reconstructing the Union, pp. 307–308; Harold M. Hyman, A More Perfect Union: The Impact of the Civil War and Reconstruction on the Constitution (Boston, 1975), p. 266; McCrary, Lincoln and Reconstruction, p. 9; LaWanda Cox, Lincoln and Black Freedom: A Study in Presidential Leadership (Columbia, South Carolina, 1981), pp. 128–129; David Donald, ed. Inside Lincoln's Cabinet, The Civil War Diaries of Salmon P. Chase (New York, 1954), pp. 265–266.
- Basler, ed. Collected Works, 8: 403; McCrary, Lincoln and Reconstruction, pp. 4–13.
- Lydia Maria Child to George W. Julian, 8 April 1865, in Belz, Reconstructing the Union, p. 308; Hyman, A More Perfect Union, pp. 210–211; Frederick Douglass in The Liberator (Boston), 29, January 1864; David Lightner, "Abraham Lincoln and the Ideal of Equality," Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, 75 (1982): 304–305.
- Donald, Sumner, p. 48.