Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Ken Blackwell and Bob Morrison

1/1/2013 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

January 1, 2013, the National Archives places the Emancipation Proclamation on rare public display, the text is hardly legible, the victim of age and light. But Abraham Lincoln stands out clearly


This is the day, January 1, 1863, one hundred fifty years ago, that changed America forever. From that date onward, Father Abraham's armies, the armies of the United States, became armies of liberation. Those soldiers, black and white, carried freedom in their haversacks.

Abraham Lincoln signing the emancipation proclamation

Abraham Lincoln signing the emancipation proclamation

Highlights

By Ken Blackwell and Bob Morrison

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

1/1/2013 (2 years ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Emancipation proclamation, slavery, freedom, freedom, Civil War, Ken Blackwell, Bob Morrison


WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - President Abraham Lincoln had been warned by Gen. George B. McClellan not to interfere with the institution of slavery. McClellan was a "War Democrat," willing to fight to preserve the Union, but unwilling to do anything about the root cause of the rebellion that threatened the life of the nation.
 
Ironically, it was McClellan's victory at the Battle of Antietam on September 17, 1862, that had given Lincoln the opportunity he needed to issue his Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. In that document, the President warned rebellious states in the South that they would have their slaves freed if they did not cease their insurrection against the federal government and once again obey the laws of the Union.
 
That hundred-day period had been a difficult one for President Lincoln. There would be political reverses in the mid-term congressional elections that fall. Democrats campaigned on the slogan "The Union as it was and the Constitution as it is." That meant slavery would be secure in all the states where it then existed. They picked up congressional seats and won key state governorships.
 
And then, there was the disastrous Union defeat at Fredericksburg, Virginia. Thousands of Union soldiers died in thirteen fruitless charges against Marye's Heights. An extraordinary appearance of the Northern Lights on the night of that battle led people to say the very heavens were draped in mourning.
 
Now, on January 1, 1863, Lincoln proved true to his word on Emancipation. But, as he sat down to sign the engrossed copy of the historic document, he noted an error in the text. Lincoln knew that the U.S. Supreme Court was hostile to Emancipation. If there was a single error, Lincoln knew the pro-slavery Chief Justice Roger B. Taney would strike down the Emancipation Proclamation. So he ordered it re-copied for signature later that same day.
 
Meanwhile, President Lincoln had to stand for hours shaking thousands of hands in the traditional New Year's Day reception at the White House. When he came back to sign the Emancipation Proclamation, his hand was shaking. As his puzzled colleagues looked on,he exercised his weary arm.
 
He explained: "If I am remembered for anything, it will be for this act and my whole soul is in it." He did not want future generations to see a feeble signature and say he hesitated. So he signed it "Abraham Lincoln." He wrote out his full name, not signing it as he usually did, "A. Lincoln."
 
January 1, 2013,  the National Archives places the Emancipation Proclamation on rare public display, the text is hardly legible, the victim of age and light. But Abraham Lincoln stands out clearly.
 
Some cynics today say Lincoln freed no slaves where he had power and all the slaves where he did not. Then, too, the London newspapers adopted a snarky tone: "The high principle of Mr. Lincoln's proclamation is that a man may not own a man unless he is loyal to Mr. Lincoln's government."
 
That criticism was as ignorant as it was unfair. Lincoln was no despot. He knew that he could not constitutionally deprive loyal citizens of their slaves so long as they obeyed the laws. He pleaded and cajoled the congressmen from the loyal slave states of Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland, and Delaware. They stubbornly refused his offers of compensated emancipation.
 
Lincoln was an able lawyer who knew his brief. He had been a reader of Richmond newspapers for years. When secessionist editors boasted that the South could outlast the North because they could send all their young men into the army, while slaves would work the farms and factories, Lincoln took note.
 
Because the rebels themselves claimed slavery was a military asset, Lincoln knew he was on solid ground in freeing those slaves. His Emancipation Proclamation was a constitutional exercise of his powers as commander-in-chief of the army and navy. He justified it as an act of military necessity.
 
Abraham Lincoln is remembered as the Great Emancipator. He knew that the advance of the Union armies would bring freedom to millions.
 
Lincoln's bold black signature had done this. And he would do more. As the movie, Lincoln, so clearly shows, the president was the prime mover behind the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution. That measure ended slavery in every state. It's a shame that the able writers and directors of this new movie did not show Lincoln signing that amendment, too. A president's signature is not necessary for a constitutional amendment, but Lincoln once again had his whole heart and soul in it.
 
This is the day, January 1, 1863, one hundred fifty years ago, that changed America forever. From that date onward, Father Abraham's armies, the armies of the United States, became armies of liberation. Those soldiers, black and white, carried freedom in their haversacks.*****Ken Blackwell , a senior fellow at the American Civil Rights Union, serves on the Board of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. Bob Morrison, a historian, is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2015
Universal:
Scientists: That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person.
Evangelization: Contribution of women: That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More U.S.

Islamic State's seduction, recruitment of Americans under scrutiny Watch

Image of At least 25 Probable American recruits have been detained since January.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

U.S. prosecutions of would-be recruits to Islamic State has grown exponentially. ISIS has used both brutality and perceptive propaganda to attract members worldwide, in ways that are far more sophisticated than al-Qaeda and other jihadist adherents. LOS ... continue reading


'Man of peace, tenacity and courage,' Cardinal Francis George dies aged 78 Watch

Image of Polio during childhood had left the prelate with a weakened leg and a pronounced limp throughout his life. With his death, the College of Cardinals has 223 members, of whom 121 are under 80 and thus eligible to vote for a pope.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Retired Archbishop of Chicago, Cardinal Francis George has died after a decade of battling cancer at the age of 78. The first native Chicagoan to head the archdiocese, he is being remembered as "a man of peace, tenacity and courage" by his successor Archbishop ... continue reading


Genetic rescuing considered for shrinking wolf population on remote Michigan island Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

There are only three wolves left on Isle Royale, a small island in Michigan Lake's Superior, according to biologists. Researchers said that they do not know what to do or what should be done in order to save the wolves from dying and disrupting the ecology. MUNTINLUPA, ... continue reading


Another scandal shakes Hillary Clinton's presidential ambitions as IRS reports she took millions from foreign governments Watch

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has taken another hit to her reputation with new information coming out that could compromise her chances at becoming president or even the Democratic nominee. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Recent information has ... continue reading


Controversial 'Killing Jews is Worship' posters soon to be seen plastered around New York City Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

After being the center of a legal debate, posters with the statement, "Killing Jews is Worship that draws us close to Allah" are going to soon be seen plastered on New York City buses and subways due to the victory of American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) against ... continue reading


Where will the next big quake be? It may not be in California Watch

Image of The American midwest is seeing a rise in the number of earthquakes, likely caused by fracking for oil and natural gas.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Central and eastern portions of the U.S. have been suffering from a spate of earthquakes over the last few years, and the U.S. Geological Survey believes that human activity may be responsible for this uptick. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Geological ... continue reading


Bishop Robert Finn's resignation officially accepted by the Vatican Watch

Image of Bishop Finn served a two-year suspended sentence and the diocese was fined $1.1 million. Finn remained at his administrative duties until just recently and did not serve any jail time as a result of the conviction.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Vatican has announced the resignation of Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-St Joseph. "The Holy Father has accepted the resignation of Bishop Robert W Finn from the pastoral governance" of his diocese, the Vatican said in a statement. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


'Spill all of their blood' Suburban American girl joins ISIS, encourages others to terrorize 'non-believers' Watch

Image of Hoda Muthana was described as a quiet girl in school.

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Hoda Muthana, 20, shocked her entire suburban community when she joined the extremist Islamic State back in November. Muthana was allegedly brainwashed by the terrorist group when she fled to Syria using her university tuition fee. The young American refused to go back ... continue reading


5.3 MILLION chickens euthanized on Iowa farm as bird flu epidemic devastates Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The H5N2 bird flu virus took its biggest toll on a farm in northwest Iowa, in Osceola County. There are seven other Midwestern states that have been hit by the virus. The number of deaths in chickens and turkeys caused by the bird flu virus has been counted to around ... continue reading


Defend Marriage! Sign the Pledge in Solidarity for Marriage, Join the March

Image of Did you read that these defenders of marriage faced tear gas and clubs from the riot police of the French Socialist regime? They sang La Marseillaise, the French National Anthem, and called for the resignation of the President. Most US news sources did not even report on the Paris March. It was led by a growing movement in France called La Manif  Similar marches have occurred in Taiwan and around the world.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

One of the leaders I have the privilege of calling my friend is a great evangelical Christian and constitutional lawyer named Mat Staver. Mat is the Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel and Liberty Counsel Action.  We have joined together on many fronts, ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Peter 5:5-14
5 In the same way, younger people, be subject to the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 89:2-3, 6-7, 16-17
2 for you have said: love is built to last for ever, ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 16:15-20
15 And he said to them, 'Go out to the whole world; ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 25th, 2015 Image

St. Mark
April 25: The second Gospel was written by St. Mark, who, in the New ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter