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Using military necessity as a justification under the president’s war powers as granted by the Constitution, Lincoln issued an initial Emancipation Proclamation. He reasoned that since the Confederate war machine ran largely on the labor of slaves, removing that labor would materially aid the Union war effort. Of course, neither this nor the Final Emancipation Proclamation (see selection 22) actually freed any slaves; it merely encouraged slaves to escape with the promise that they would not be returned to their masters.
Bythe Presidentofthe United Statesof America
I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States of America, and Commander-in-chief of the Army and Navy thereof, do hereby proclaim and declare that hereafter, as heretofore, the war will be prosecuted for the object of practically restoring the constitutional relation between the United States, and each of the states, and the people thereof; in which states that relation is, or may be suspended, or disturbed.
That it is my purpose, upon the next meeting of Congress to again recommend the adoption of a practical measure tendering pecuniary aid to the free acceptance or rejection of all slave-states, so called, the people whereof may not then be in rebellion against the United States, and which states, may then have voluntarily adopted, or thereafter may voluntarily adopt, immediate, or gradual abolishment of slavery within their respective limits; and that the effort to colonize persons of African descent, with their consent, upon this continent, or elsewhere, with the previously obtained consent of the Governments existing there, will be continued.
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