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Letters Suggest Lincoln Wanted to Buy Slaves for $400 Apiece in 'Gradual Emancipation'
Fox News ^

Posted on 03/05/2008 11:23:56 AM PST by Sub-Driver

Letters Suggest Lincoln Wanted to Buy Slaves for $400 Apiece in 'Gradual Emancipation'

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

AP

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Barely a year into the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln suggested buying slaves for $400 apiece under a "gradual emancipation" plan that would bring peace at less cost than several months of hostilities.

The proposal was outlined in one of 72 letters penned by Lincoln that ended up in the University of Rochester's archives. The correspondence was digitally scanned and posted online along with easier-to-read transcriptions.

Accompanying them are 215 letters sent to Lincoln by dozens of fellow political and military leaders. They include letters from Vice President Andrew Johnson and Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, who both succeeded Lincoln in the presidency in the 12 years after his assassination in 1865.

(Excerpt) Read more at foxnews.com ...


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: abelincoln; emancipation; letters; presidents; slavery
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1 posted on 03/05/2008 11:23:57 AM PST by Sub-Driver
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To: Sub-Driver
But I thought all whites were evil racist slaveholders...
2 posted on 03/05/2008 11:25:32 AM PST by 2banana (My common ground with terrorists - they want to die for islam and we want to kill them)
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To: Sub-Driver
I’m glad he didn’t take this route. It would not have solved the problem and it would have just justified the continual traffic of humans as commodities.
3 posted on 03/05/2008 11:26:53 AM PST by mnehring ("Ronald Reagan has made Jimmy Carter look like a conservative..."- Ron Paul)
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To: Sub-Driver

In hindsight, $400 apiece could have proven a real bargain.


4 posted on 03/05/2008 11:27:09 AM PST by DieHard the Hunter (Is mise an ceann-cinnidh. Cha ghéill mi do dhuine. Fàg am bealach.)
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To: Sub-Driver

Corporate welfare.


5 posted on 03/05/2008 11:27:41 AM PST by bmwcyle (I am the watchman on the tower sounding the alarm.)
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To: DieHard the Hunter
It would have been a tremendous bargain. Perhaps even better, it would have avoided the disastrous 14th Amendment under which all states suffer today.
6 posted on 03/05/2008 11:29:30 AM PST by MBB1984
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To: DieHard the Hunter

It’s like the gun buy-backs. People only bring in old, worn out or broken stuff that won’t work anymore!


7 posted on 03/05/2008 11:30:36 AM PST by Dr. Bogus Pachysandra ("Don't touch that thing")
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To: Sub-Driver

he wanted to buy them , he also wanted to set them up in either Liberia, or Nicaragua where he expected them to be friendly to US interests.


8 posted on 03/05/2008 11:31:35 AM PST by camle (keep an open mind and someone will fill it full of something for you)
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To: Sub-Driver

Interesting approach. I’ll need to read up later.

This could have applicable parallels with the prolife movement.


9 posted on 03/05/2008 11:32:42 AM PST by Kevmo (SURFRINAGWIASS : Shut Up RINOs. Free Republic is not a GOP Website. It’s a SOCON Site.)
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To: Sub-Driver

Interesting. I know there’s been a lot of debate on here during the various WBTS threads regarding whether the Federal government would or could have done something like this pre-War. Trouble is, I don’t see how this could’ve possibly shortened the war—by 1862, with the battle as fiercely joined as it was, the Confederate forces saw it as defense of the South against an invading army. Emancipating slaves would have done nothing to speed an end to that. Besides, at that point, Southern slaveholders probably wouldn’t have sold their slaves to “the enemy” who was busy trying to invade their land.

}:-)4


10 posted on 03/05/2008 11:32:54 AM PST by Moose4 (Hey GOP...don't move toward the middle. Move the middle toward us.)
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To: Sub-Driver

As I suspected, the article points to this being a proposal prior to issuing the Emancipation Proclamation. I believe I’ve read of this before, but would have to do a lot of research to find the volume it was in.

Lincoln put forth a number of proposals both before the war, and after it began, trying to limit the carnage and the effects of succession. For various reasons none took hold.


11 posted on 03/05/2008 11:34:14 AM PST by bcsco (To heck with a third party. We need a second one....)
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To: Sub-Driver

I thought this was well known. Are there any thoughts about whether slave holders would have accepted such an offer? Something tells me that many would have resisted.


12 posted on 03/05/2008 11:35:08 AM PST by rhombus
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To: Sub-Driver
Lincoln stated early in his Presidency that his main aim was to preserve the Union. He said it didn’t matter if all of the states were slave, all free, or some free and some slave. Preserving the Union was what mattered.

BTW the Emancipation Proclamation freed NO SLAVES!!!
The Proclamation only applied to the areas of states then in rebellion that were not controlled by the Union army. Therefore, it only freed slaves in areas where the North was not in power.

Because of that war, so much power was stripped from the individual states and taken over by the Federal government that the whole makeup of our nation changed.

13 posted on 03/05/2008 11:35:56 AM PST by fredhead (4-cylinder, air cooled, horizontally opposed......THE REAL VW!!!)
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To: Moose4

Agreed. After firing on Sumter, the Rebs weren’t in a mood to compromise.


14 posted on 03/05/2008 11:37:42 AM PST by rhombus
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To: rhombus

This wasn’t aimed at the Confederate States. I was meant for Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, Missouri and Washington, D.C, per the article. While these were slave holding states (as were some other of the Northern states although of no real numbers), they didn’t secede.


15 posted on 03/05/2008 11:38:15 AM PST by bcsco (To heck with a third party. We need a second one....)
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To: bcsco

Oops! I meant secession, not succession. Sorry.


16 posted on 03/05/2008 11:38:57 AM PST by bcsco (To heck with a third party. We need a second one....)
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To: bcsco

Then I wonder what was the point.


17 posted on 03/05/2008 11:39:18 AM PST by rhombus
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To: Sub-Driver

I am descended from several slaveholders through various branches of my family. It has occurred to me in the past that my family invested a great deal of money in a practice that was completely legal, and that money was lost to them with no remuneration.


18 posted on 03/05/2008 11:40:06 AM PST by Burkean
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To: 2banana
This is News? I learned about the letters 30 Yrs ago when i went to High school in GA where Ol’ Abe wasn’t held in too High regard. I have read where resentment over this failed policy caused him to exempt all the slaves in the U.S. in the emancipation proclamation.
barbra ann
19 posted on 03/05/2008 11:40:20 AM PST by barb-tex (Why replace the IRS with anything?)
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To: fredhead
Because of that war, so much power was stripped from the individual states and taken over by the Federal government that the whole makeup of our nation changed.

Agreed. What a foolish issue to make a stand for States Rights over. A total shame all the way around. Of course had they tried to settle that issue earlier they might never have gotten the Constitution ratified.

20 posted on 03/05/2008 11:42:24 AM PST by rhombus
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To: Burkean
I am descended from several slaveholders through various branches of my family. It has occurred to me in the past that my family invested a great deal of money in a practice that was completely legal, and that money was lost to them with no remuneration.

Losing a war sucks, man.

21 posted on 03/05/2008 11:43:31 AM PST by rhombus
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To: Sub-Driver
The motivations behind "gradual emancipation" were complex. Keeping slaves had ceased to be cost-effective as the slaves grew older, for a servant's labor had become cheaper than the cost of caring for the servant throughout his or her lifetime. However, most colonists did not view immediate emancipation as the right solution, for then either the slave owners would lose property that they had legally acquired, or the government would have to repay these owners for their lost property. Instead, "gradual emancipation" shifted the cost of freeing slaves onto the slaves themselves, who effectively worked their way out of slavery. This new system did not free any current slaves, and it guaranteed twenty years of service from any child born of a slave.

The line between servitude and slavery was fine indeed for black indentured servants, particularly since white servants rarely served more than 7 years and rarely after the age of twenty-one.

Benjamin Silliman, officer of the American Colonization Society, offers one example of how the "gradual emancipation" law was put into effect.
More at:
yaleslavery.org

22 posted on 03/05/2008 11:44:43 AM PST by fight_truth_decay
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To: rhombus
Then I wonder what was the point.

This article doesn't really say. It mentions he was trying to end the war which was costing up to $2 million per day, but how ending slavery in non-Confederate states would accomplish that isn't mentioned.

I'm trying to recall what I've read previously. My guess would be that if the states in question went along, he could show the Confederate states a workable plan that might bring them to the table. I believe Lincoln was willing to try almost anything to reduce the suffering. 'Almost' is the operative word.

23 posted on 03/05/2008 11:45:26 AM PST by bcsco (To heck with a third party. We need a second one....)
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To: bcsco
I believe Lincoln was willing to try almost anything to reduce the suffering. 'Almost' is the operative word.

Well he finally did end the suffering by giving Grant and Sherman the go-ahead to "press the issue".

24 posted on 03/05/2008 11:47:22 AM PST by rhombus
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To: Sub-Driver

Reminds me of that Firesign Theater sketch with Lincoln waking up after a hard night drinking.

“I freed the WHAT???”


25 posted on 03/05/2008 11:48:48 AM PST by JennysCool (They all say they want change, but they’re really after folding money.)
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To: rhombus
Well he finally did end the suffering by giving Grant and Sherman the go-ahead to "press the issue".

Yep! It took awhile for him to find the military leaders he needed. And that opens up a whole 'nuther discussion about what would have happened had Robert E. Lee not resigned his commission and stayed with the Union.

26 posted on 03/05/2008 11:51:27 AM PST by bcsco (To heck with a third party. We need a second one....)
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To: Moose4
Interestingly, the idea was first proposed by Joseph Smith in his 1844 platform in running for the presidency of the U.S. That “favorite son” candidacy was stopped by Joseph Smith’s assassination. The idea was late for Lincoln at the beginning of the war, but it wasn’t late for it to be applied in 1844. Joseph Smith proposed that the money be raised by the sale of western lands.
27 posted on 03/05/2008 11:51:39 AM PST by broncobilly
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To: Burkean

I am descended from several slaveholders through various branches of my family. It has occurred to me in the past that my family invested a great deal of money in a practice that was completely legal, and that money was lost to them with no remuneration.
_____________

LOL. Are you suggesting that your family got no return for their investment? I’m sorry, but that’s a crock.


28 posted on 03/05/2008 11:53:53 AM PST by dmz
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To: Burkean
I am descended from several slaveholders through various branches of my family. It has occurred to me in the past that my family invested a great deal of money in a practice that was completely legal, and that money was lost to them with no remuneration.

We're all real broken up about your family's loss.

29 posted on 03/05/2008 11:54:21 AM PST by ConfusedAndLovingIt
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To: bcsco
Yep! It took awhile for him to find the military leaders he needed. And that opens up a whole 'nuther discussion about what would have happened had Robert E. Lee not resigned his commission and stayed with the Union.

I still think Wesley Clark Ashley Wilkes er... George McClellan would have wasted a lot of good opportunities to end it sooner rather than later. ;-)

30 posted on 03/05/2008 11:54:27 AM PST by rhombus
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To: rhombus

He certainly did waste opportunities. And your comparison to Wesley Clark is a good one. McClellan was a great organizer, but no fighter (the Peninsula Campaign for example). And I believe the people recognized that during the 1864 Presidential election. Not to say that was the only reason Lincoln was re-elected.


31 posted on 03/05/2008 12:01:11 PM PST by bcsco (To heck with a third party. We need a second one....)
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To: Sub-Driver

We could also end the war on poverty by giving all the poverted $1 million each for less than what it’s cost so far.


32 posted on 03/05/2008 12:03:24 PM PST by printhead
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To: bcsco

“Lincoln put forth a number of proposals both before the war, and after it began, trying to limit the carnage and the effects of succession.”

Is that why he allowed Grant and Sherman free reign?

He could have simply let the South secede and let the endeavor succeed or fail. Unfortunately all the money the South provided the North couldn’t be allowed to just evaporate.


33 posted on 03/05/2008 12:07:47 PM PST by swmobuffalo ("We didn't seek the approval of Code Pink and MoveOn.org before deciding what to do")
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To: Sub-Driver

Catch and release variant...


34 posted on 03/05/2008 12:07:51 PM PST by Old Professer (The critic writes with rapier pen, dips it twice, and writes again.)
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To: mnehrling

Not if he had closed the ports of entry at the same time.


35 posted on 03/05/2008 12:08:48 PM PST by Old Professer (The critic writes with rapier pen, dips it twice, and writes again.)
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To: bcsco

I don’t know if it’s true or not but I’d read that Lincoln was re-elected largely because of the military vote. Now this always sort of confused me because I’d read that “Little Mac” was extremely popular with his troops. On the other hand, by the time McClellan had been replaced and he was running on a platform or negotiated surrender, he might not have been quite as popular.


36 posted on 03/05/2008 12:09:00 PM PST by rhombus
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To: rhombus

Lincoln issue the proclamation to score points with the British. He calculated that if he framed the war as being about slavery, the British would not openly support the South.


37 posted on 03/05/2008 12:11:11 PM PST by Squawk 8888 (Is human activity causing the warming trend on Mars?)
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To: Burkean
It has occurred to me in the past that my family invested a great deal of money in a practice that was completely legal, and that money was lost to them with no remuneration.

Legal and moral are not the same. Anyone who engaged in the practice deserved the economic losses incurred by Emancipation.

38 posted on 03/05/2008 12:12:46 PM PST by Squawk 8888 (Is human activity causing the warming trend on Mars?)
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To: Burkean

I usually lurk here and don’t often have a question that has not been asked by others. But your comment begs the question: Are you upset that your ancestors did not get compensated? And what is your opinion of slavery in the United States?

FWIW, I live in Illinois and get agitated whenever I end up behind a pickup with the glass tinted with a confederate flag. Our state motto is land of Lincoln. I just read a wonderful 9 volume account of the civil war. The details from that period were new to me, as my prior education merely scratched the surface on the issues of that day. But I do recall that Lincoln wanted to compensate slave holders for their loss of property. IIRC that was the gist of his solution while he was running for president. His election in November 1860 was the deciding factor in the south forming the confederacy. Between the time he was elected and took office, the Confederate States of America was formed. The south rejected the idea of compensation before hostilities broke out. It can be argued that they turned their back on the rule of law.


39 posted on 03/05/2008 12:13:11 PM PST by Zachy
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To: rhombus

McClellan and the democratic party of the day are just like Wesley clark and the democrats of today. McClellan ran for office against lincoln as the candidate of the democratic party. He was running on a platform that there should have been negotiations with the South. What would our country look like if he had won? How would that affect another disgruntled region like New England? Let alone what would that mean for the western expansion of the US. The democrats of the day wanted to cut and run. Interesting to see history repeat itself.


40 posted on 03/05/2008 12:13:12 PM PST by Zachy
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To: Squawk 8888
Lincoln issue the proclamation to score points with the British. He calculated that if he framed the war as being about slavery, the British would not openly support the South.

And a good strategy it proved to be. States rights over slavery was a foolish issue to make a stand. Making the issue clear to the Brits kept them from selling out principles for King Cotton.

41 posted on 03/05/2008 12:15:47 PM PST by rhombus
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To: swmobuffalo
Is that why he allowed Grant and Sherman free reign?

Early in the war Lincoln tried a number of methods of ending it, with the intention of preserving the Union. This was his first, and ultimate aim. Allowing the South to secede was never an option to Lincoln. It became obvious, however, that the Confederate States were not interested in any outcome that didn't recognize their existence. With that in mind, Lincoln fought the war to preserve the Union, and, secondly, emancipation. Gravitation to Grant and Sherman only shows his realization of what it would take to win.

42 posted on 03/05/2008 12:16:23 PM PST by bcsco (To heck with a third party. We need a second one....)
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To: swmobuffalo
He could have simply let the South secede and let the endeavor succeed or fail.

Can't cite a source, but I vaguely recall reading somewhere that when the South seceded, Lincoln's plan was to adopt a "wait and see" approach but the attack on Ft. Sumter forced his hand.

43 posted on 03/05/2008 12:17:11 PM PST by Squawk 8888 (Is human activity causing the warming trend on Mars?)
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To: rhombus

‘Little Mac’ was popular with the Army of the Potomac, but not the military as a whole. And when the 1864 election occurred, it was obvious that Lincoln, Grant, Sherman, et al, were in it to win. Even though Grant was entrenched at Petersburg, many in the North accepted it as merely a matter of time before the South was defeated.

And, yes, the Democrats, like today, were a party of compromise. I don’t believe the American public of that day, even with the carnage, was willing to trade 4 years of war for an easy peace.


44 posted on 03/05/2008 12:21:47 PM PST by bcsco (To heck with a third party. We need a second one....)
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To: Zachy

Zachy, you have it right about Lincoln and the beginning of the war. BTW, I too live in Illinois, but don’t see many bumper stickers like the ones you do. Do you live in the southern part of the state?

Keep in mind that no one believed the war would last long. Those in the North believed that the Confederacy would be slim pickin’s. The South believed the North would acquiesce and allow them to form. Both, obviously, were wrong.


45 posted on 03/05/2008 12:26:16 PM PST by bcsco (To heck with a third party. We need a second one....)
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To: DieHard the Hunter
In hindsight, $400 apiece could have proven a real bargain.

A lot cheaper than LBJ's "Great Society" program.
46 posted on 03/05/2008 12:26:28 PM PST by Sig Sauer P220
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To: printhead
We could also end the war on poverty by giving all the poverted $1 million each for less than what it’s cost so far.

They'd just blow it on hookers and lottery tickets and come back demanding more.
47 posted on 03/05/2008 12:28:42 PM PST by Sig Sauer P220
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To: MBB1984
"It would have been a tremendous bargain. Perhaps even better, it would have avoided the disastrous 14th . . . "

Perhaps not. Congress needed a vehicle for granting privileges and immunities as it could not grant or bestow rights on the freed slaves. The P and I served the same purpose without having to re-write the Constitution.

48 posted on 03/05/2008 12:29:32 PM PST by Eastbound
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To: Zachy
Interesting to see history repeat itself.

So true. There are many comparisons between today and that situation. Unfortunately, our education system has prevented many today of understanding how the Democrat party of today is little different that it was then.

49 posted on 03/05/2008 12:32:54 PM PST by bcsco (To heck with a third party. We need a second one....)
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To: Sig Sauer P220

They’d just blow it on hookers and lottery tickets and come back demanding more.
____________

Yours is the kind of post our friends over at DU love to trot out to show the kind of character freepers possess. Good work.

Not every thought need be expressed.


50 posted on 03/05/2008 12:43:23 PM PST by dmz
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