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  • Print publication year: 2012
  • Online publication date: April 2013

21 - Second Annual Message to Congress


In his Second Annual Message to Congress President Lincoln once again made the case against allowing the Union to be divided. He was replying to “Peace Democrats” and others who wanted the Civil War to end in a draw, allowing the Confederate States of America to coexist peacefully with a shrunken United States to its north. Lincoln also reiterated his proposal to compensate slave owners in the border states for the freeing of their slaves (see selection 16) and the relocation of former slaves outside the United States (see selection 17).

Fellow-citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives:

Since your last annual assembling another year of health and bountiful harvests has passed. And while it has not pleased the Almighty to bless us with a return of peace, we can but press on, guided by the best light He gives us, trusting that in His own good time, and wise way, all will yet be well…

On the twenty-second day of September last a proclamation was issued by the Executive, a copy of which is herewith submitted.

In accordance with the purpose expressed in the second paragraph of that paper, I now respectfully recall your attention to what may be called “compensated emancipation.”

. . .

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  • Online ISBN: 9781139034784
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