Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 5.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.

Emancipation Proclamation---First Draft [1]

[July 22, 1862]

In pursuance of the sixth section [2] of the act of congress entitled ``An act to suppress insurrection and to punish treason and rebellion, to seize and confiscate property of rebels, and for other purposes'' Approved July 17. 1862, and which act, and the Joint Resolution explanatory thereof, are herewith published, I, ABRAHAM LINCOLN, President of the United States, do hereby proclaim to, and warn all persons within the contemplation of said sixth section to cease participating in, aiding, countenancing, or abetting the existing rebellion, or any rebellion against the government of the United States, and to return to their proper allegiance to the United States, on pain of the forfeitures and seizures, as within and by said sixth section provided.

And I hereby make known that it is my purpose, upon the next meeting of congress, to again recommend the adoption of a practical measure for tendering pecuniary aid to the free choice or rejection, of any and all States which may then be recognizing and practically sustaining the authority of the United States, and which may then have voluntarily adopted, or thereafter may voluntarily adopt, gradual abolishment of slavery within such State or States---that the object is to practically restore, thenceforward to be maintain[ed], the constitutional relation between the general government, and each, and all the states, wherein that relation is now suspended, or disturbed; and that, for this object, the war, as it has been, will be, prossecuted. And, as a fit and necessaryPage  337 military measure for effecting this object, I, as Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, do order and declare that on the first day of January in the year of Our Lord one thousand, eight hundred and sixtythree, all persons held as slaves within any state or states, wherein the constitutional authority of the United States shall not then be practically recognized, submitted to, and maintained, shall then, thenceforward, and forever, be free.

Emancipation Proclamation

as first sketched and

shown to the Cabinet in

July 1862. [3]


[1]   ADf, DLC-RTL. The first paragraph of this draft was issued as the proclamation of July 25, infra. According to Lincoln's recollection as quoted by Francis B. Carpenter in Six Months at the White House (pp. 20-22), Montgomery Blair opposed the proclamation of emancipation on the ground that it would cost the administration the fall election, and Seward approved it but proposed that issuance be postponed until military success gave the administration a more favorable position. Bates' Diary is silent on this discussion, but Nicolay and Hay in Abraham Lincoln: A History (VI, 127) record that Bates gave ``unreserved concurrence.'' On the day following the meeting Postmaster General Blair wrote Lincoln a lengthy opinion objecting to the proclamation on political grounds. ``There is therefore no public sentiment at the North, even among extreme men which now demands the proposed measure,'' he wrote. It would ``endanger our power in Congress, and put the power in the next House of Representatives in the hands of those opposed to the war, or to our mode of carrying it on,'' but ``if adopted to meet foreign intervention and to make issue between the Governments of Europe and the people there,'' the measure might be favorably received (D, DLC-Chase Papers). Chase's Diary records the cabinet discussion as follows: ``The question of arming slaves was then brought up and I advocated it warmly. The President was unwilling to adopt this measure, but proposed to issue a proclamation, on the basis of the Confiscation Bill, calling upon the States to return to their allegiance . . . adding, on his own part, a declaration of his intention to renew, at the next session of Congress, his recommendation of compensation to States adopting the gradual abolishment of slavery---and proclaiming the emancipation of all slaves within States remaining in insurrection on the first of January, 1863.

``I said that I should give to such a measure my cordial support; but I should prefer that no new expression on the subject of compensation should be made, and I thought that the measure of Emancipation could be much better and more quietly accomplished by allowing Generals to organize and arm the slaves . . . and by directing the Commanders of Departments to proclaim emancipation within their Districts as soon as practicable; but I regarded this as so much better than inaction on the subject, that I should give it my entire support. . . .'' (Diary and Correspondence of Salmon P. Chase, pp. 48-49).

[2]   The sixth section provided that property of persons in States in rebellion, who did not cease to give aid to the rebellion within sixty days after proclamation by the president, would be liable to seizure. At Lincoln's direction Stanton prepared on July 22 the Executive Order authorizing seizure of property ``which may be necessary or convenient'' and the employment of ``so many persons of African descent as can be advantageously used for military or naval purposes.'' This order was issued by the Adjutant General's Office on AugustPage  338

as General Orders No. 109. See also Lincoln's memorandum on recruiting Negroes, infra.

[3]   This endorsement was written by Lincoln on the back of the second page of the draft.