Happy Emancipation Day

One hundred and fifty years ago today, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

Emancipation_proclamation

Here’s the money quote:

Whereas, on the twenty-second day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, a proclamation was issued by the President of the United States, containing, among other things, the following, to wit:

“That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.

The proclamation was limited, as the National Archives’ online exhibit on the document (linked above) makes clear:

It applied only to states that had seceded from the Union, leaving slavery untouched in the loyal border states. It also expressly exempted parts of the Confederacy that had already come under Northern control. Most important, the freedom it promised depended upon Union military victory.

It was, however, critical:

Although the Emancipation Proclamation did not end slavery in the nation, it captured the hearts and imagination of millions of Americans and fundamentally transformed the character of the war. After January 1, 1863, every advance of federal troops expanded the domain of freedom. Moreover, the Proclamation announced the acceptance of black men into the Union Army and Navy, enabling the liberated to become liberators. By the end of the war, almost 200,000 black soldiers and sailors had fought for the Union and freedom.

Major_Martin_Delany

Lincoln faced criticism at the time for the proclamation — from the Confederacy, of course, who threatened all kinds of terrors for any captured black soldiers and their officers, black or white — and also from some of his own supporters, for whom the cautious limitations of the document seemed weak in the face of an obvious moral imperative.  Most famously, in the autumn of 1862, Lincoln himself disavowed overt abolitionism in the most public of possible ways in a letter to Horace Greeley, the great abolitionist publisher and editor of the The New York Tribune. Historian Eugene Berwanger writes:

Between the cabinet meeting in July and the issuance of the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862, Lincoln sought to prepare the citizenry for its impact. Hence the letter to Horace Greeley on August 22, in which Lincoln offered ample justification of his views on slavery vis à vis the Union. “My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by Page  [End Page 31] freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about salvery and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help save the Union.”…

Caution, constraint, a limited view of ends — all on display there, in what seems as clear as could be an indictment of the limits of Lincoln’s moral universe.  Except, of course, that Lincoln was no Elijah, a prophet alone, with no duty but to the compulsion within.  Berwanger continues:

However, when the letter is given proper chronological context, showing that Lincoln had already formulated the Emancipation Proclamation and was merely awaiting the propitious moment for its announcement, the statement takes on a different tone. It was Lincoln’s own way of softening the blow of military emancipation for the conservative elements. In a sense, he was preparing the public for what he knew was to come. By stressing the Union as his primary concern, Lincoln hoped to make emancipation more palatable for those opposing it. And, of course, the best way to reach as wide an audience as possible was through the New York Tribune, the largest newspaper in the nation. Even as he issued the final document to the nation in 1863, Lincoln continued to stress the theme of military necessity for emancipation.

And what of the actual limits of the Proclamation, most notably the refusal to free slaves already under Union authority?  Here’s a reminder of the circumstances in which Lincoln constructed his document:

… Lincoln, ever the careful lawyer, knew that his presidential `war powers’ only ran as far as actual warfare ran, and neither the border states nor the occupied districts were at war with federal authority on January 1, 1863. Making the proclamation legally challenge-proof forced him to restrain “my oft expressed personal wish that all men every where could be free,” as well as muting any flights of eloquence about justice. Still, the Proclamation not only provided the legal title to freedom that slaves could claim once the Union armies arrived, it also opened the gates to the enlistment of black soldiers in the Union army. And once in the uniform of the Union, Lincoln could no longer keep up the pretense of denying blacks equal civil rights. “As I live,” Lincoln promised a crowd of jubilant blacks in Richmond in April, 1865, “no one shall put a shackle on your limbs, and you shall have all the rights which God has given to every other free citizen of this Republic.”

I’ll leave as a sermon unsaid the resonance between Lincoln’s reticence in the face of political realities and events within the presidency of his first African-American successor.  Better, I think, simply to celebrate the day when the United States took one step — a great one, but only one — towards its ideal of a more perfect Union.

A lagniappe:  I heard on the radio today that Boston’s Handel and Haydn Society performed yesterday at the Museum of African American History in town, singing selections from their concert in 1863 celebrating the promulgation of the Emancipation Proclamation.  According to the report I heard, the program included this piece.

(and yes — I know that this performance is not from H & H.  I liked some of the other associations.  Sue me.)

Images: Francis Bicknell Carpenter, First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation of President Lincoln, 1864

Unknown artist, lithograph portrait of Major Martin R. Delaney, the highest ranking black officer in the Union Army 1865.

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69 replies
  1. 1
    Morzer says:

    Seven score and ten years ago sounds much better than 150 years ago to my ears.

  2. 2
    Balconesfault says:

    Did he sign it on the first of January, or did it just become effective on that day?

  3. 3
    different-church-lady says:

    Today’s progressives would call it a crappy deal for the slaves and insist no proclamation at all was better than this one.

  4. 4
    Linnaeus says:

    @Balconesfault:

    It was in two parts. The final proclamation was issued and signed on January 1, 1863.

  5. 5
    Pococurante says:

    Lincoln caved. My Irish and Jewish ancestors are convinced. May as well roll back this amendment.

  6. 6
    Brachiator says:

    Like Van the Man once sang,

    Yes it feels like, yes it seems like
    Brand new day, yeah,
    A brand new day.

  7. 7
    Jay C says:

    @Balconesfault:

    AFAIR, Lincoln actually issued the pre- proclamation Proclamation on Sept. 22, 1862, giving the South until Jan. 1 to cease their rebellion or else the EP would be issued. I’m not sure Lincoln or anyone else in his Admin seriously thought it would make much of a difference, but by that point in the War, it was necessary to seize the moral high ground wrt slavery. Or rather, to make that high ground the official Union position…

  8. 8
    Raven says:

    @Brachiator: He also sang

    Have you heard about
    the great deception
    plastic revolutionaries
    take the money and run. . .

  9. 9
    JPL says:

    The NYTimes crossword celebrated the Emancipation Proclamation today. Earlier I also read an article on blacks celebrating “watchnight” which is a term that I was not familiar with. (I can’t find the article to link) Although watchnight has religious significance since the 1700’s or earlier, the emancipation gave it new meaning for the black community. Many African/American churches still celebrate watch night.

  10. 10
    Culture of Truth says:

    He caved!

  11. 11
    Raven says:

    Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) spokesman Doug Heye tweeted out a peace offering to House Speaker John Boehner, a sign that leadership is coming together and moving closer to a path to passage of the Senate bill.

    “Majority Leader Cantor stands with @SpeakerBoehner. Speculation otherwise is silly, non-productive and untrue,” Heye tweeted.

  12. 12
    SatanicPanic says:

    @different-church-lady: Lincoln was worse than Buchanan. He sold out the progressive movement in exchange for a few lousy amendments.

  13. 13
  14. 14
    Mnemosyne says:

    Lincoln couldn’t go for full emancipation because he needed to keep the slaveholding states that had remained in the Union from joining the Confederacy, which they probably would have done if he had tried to free the slaves in those states at the same time.

    Not that there are any parallels that can be drawn with negotiations today that have to be done with conservative elements within the Democratic Party before negotiations can even begin with the other side. Nope, not a one.

  15. 15
    Raven says:

    “Watchnight service has added significance and history in the African-American community in the United States, since many slaves were said to have gathered in churches on New Year’s Eve, in 1862, to await news and confirmation of the enactment of the Emancipation Proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln, on January 1, 1863.”

  16. 16
    ruemara says:

    @JPL: You never heard of watchnight service? I would make some attempt at humour, but this 16 hour long headache and the blood flow pounding in my ears is ruining my writing today.

  17. 17
    MikeJ says:

    Texas didn’t hear about it until Juneteenth.

  18. 18
    Comrade Jake says:

    150 years later. we get Django Unchained.

  19. 19
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Jay C:

    Exactly. This set the international stage for the isolation of the Confederates. The thing that utterly sealed the deal took place six months later, at Gettysburg.

    After that, the Confederacy lost whatever hope it might have had for diplomatic recognition, particularly by Britain and France.

  20. 20
    JPL says:

    @ruemara: It could be that it’s buried in my old brain or I never paid attention. The latter probably being true.

  21. 21
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Comrade Jake:

    And Neo-Confederate jackasses whining about it.

  22. 22
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Raven:

    Then Captain Kirk informed Norman that “everything Heye says is a lie”, and Norman took this news very well, replying, “well, duh!”

  23. 23
    JPL says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Don’t you know that many blacks had it pretty good and treated like family members. Also, too states rights and blah, blah, blah.
    A good friend of mine is a Northwestern educated black person and she believed bozo Boortz talking about state’s rights secession. I suggested she read the GA secession papers and see how many times state’s rights was mentioned.

  24. 24
    doc g says:

    Damn that librul Lincoln for seeing the Constitution as a “living document.” God gave us the ©Constitution to NEVER be changed to fit the times.

    ©Copyrighted by God, All rights reserved for far right wing Christians of the Foxus Newsus and Limbaughian sects.

  25. 25
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @JPL:

    “States rights” was post ass-kicking revisionist theory of why the War Between The States broke out.

    At the time, the stated (and bullhorned) reason was “you’ll take my slaves when you cut my hands free of their chains.”

  26. 26
    ruemara says:

    I actually love watchnight services. It’s usually music and prayerful contemplation. I sometimes wonder what christianity would be like if all services were just music, quiet prayer and silence. But then, we’d all be Quakers. Or wiccans just enjoying the silence.

  27. 27
    JPL says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: The southern states felt that the United States Constitution gave them the right and it did. South Carolina was the wealthiest state at the time and now one of the poorest. Although I understand the industrial age and all that, it still shocks me that they couldn’t adjust. Of course, I’m a liberal so what do I know.

  28. 28
    JPL says:

    @ruemara: Celebrating in church on NYE was not a great Catholic tradition but I can understand why it’s so meaningful.

  29. 29
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @JPL:

    It’s interesting that when the New England states made noises about secession over the War of 1812, John C. Calhoun of South Carolina was one of those who made it very clear that such a notion was utter hogwash.

    Of course, when his ox was being gored, it was a totally different story.

  30. 30
    dmsilev says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Exactly. This set the international stage for the isolation of the Confederates. The thing that utterly sealed the deal took place six months later, at Gettysburg Vicksburg.

    Fixed. Gettysburgh was the bigger battle, but the fall of Vicksburg was far more important strategically. That gave the Union control of the full length of the Mississippi and sliced a large chunk of the Confederacy away from the rest.

  31. 31
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @dmsilev:

    Seeing as Vicksburg fell on July 4th, and Gettysburg was winding up right then, and Gettysburg was taking place in the East, where even then events were given greater weight just because they were in the East, I’d say it was Gettysburg.

    You’re quite correct that strategically Vicksburg was more important, but I’d argue that politically Gettysburg was.

  32. 32
    Mark S. says:

    WORSE THAN BUCHANAN

  33. 33
    PurpleGirl says:

    I never heard the term “watchnight” until this posting. I knew about Juneteenth in Texas.

    The Hallelujah Chorus is one of the most beautiful pieces of music to sing and hear. That final Hallelujah soars so triumphantily.

  34. 34
    dmsilev says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: I’d argue that as far as the chance of European recognition of the Confederacy went, that was a pretty remote possibility by the summer of 1863 anyway.

  35. 35
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Now, now, it was all about states’ rights. Specifically, the rights of slave states to get everything they wanted even if it meant imposing on the rights of non-slave states.

  36. 36
    MariedeGournay says:

    Yes, yes, but remember, nothing would have been done without the ardent, radical abolitionists never shutting the fuck up. They moved the conscience of the country, and often paid heavily for it. A building down the street from me marks the place where two men were dragged out into the street and nearly beaten to death by a mob for holding regular aboltionist meetings. Their job was to never be satisified, because they were right. So stow the feel good emoprog bullshit. No politician does anything without being forced.

  37. 37
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @dmsilev:

    That’s true, but as concrete events that made recognition virtually impossible, the combined Union victories fit the requirements.

  38. 38
  39. 39
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Mark S.:

    You win the internets for 2013.

  40. 40
    AxelFoley says:

    @different-church-lady:

    Today’s progressives would call it a crappy deal for the slaves and insist no proclamation at all was better than this one.

    OOOOOH, BURN! LOL

  41. 41
    debbie says:

    @ Comrade Jake:

    150 years later. we get Django Unchained.

    Truth being stranger than fiction, we also get that Michelle Bachmann-backed group that insisted African-Americans had it better under slavery than they did under Obama because the plantation society “tried” to keep families together.

  42. 42

    From the twitterverse

    My ex’s grandad, who died in 2007 was the son of slaves. We were 29 when he died. That’s how close slavery is.

  43. 43
    different-church-lady says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: Completely blew my mind to read recently that the last living eyewitness to Lincoln’s assassination was making TV appearances in the 1950s. Time does funny things.

  44. 44
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    Lincoln used the victory at Antietam to issue the EP. This proclamation played into the hands of Great Britain to refuse the recognition of the Confederate States as a nation. Prince Albert,consort to Queen Victoria was an abolitionist. This document was a great political masterstroke by Lincoln.

  45. 45
    AxelFoley says:

    @MariedeGournay:

    Yes, yes, but remember, nothing would have been done without the ardent, radical abolitionists never shutting the fuck up. They moved the conscience of the country, and often paid heavily for it. A building down the street from me marks the place where two men were dragged out into the street and nearly beaten to death by a mob for holding regular aboltionist meetings. Their job was to never be satisified, because they were right. So stow the feel good emoprog bullshit. No politician does anything without being forced.

    LOL at you comparing these emoprog fucktards to abolitionists.

  46. 46
    Brachiator says:

    @dmsilev:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    That’s true, but as concrete events that made recognition virtually impossible, the combined Union victories fit the requirements.

    From the Wiki, for what it’s worth:

    The British working class population, most notably the British cotton workers suffering the Lancashire Cotton Famine, remained consistently opposed to the Confederacy. A resolution of support was passed by the inhabitants of Manchester, and sent to Lincoln. His letter of reply has become famous….
    __
    Throughout the early years of the war, British foreign secretary Lord Russell and Napoleon III, and, to a lesser extent, British Prime Minister Lord Palmerston, explored the risks and advantages of recognition of the Confederacy, or at least of offering a mediation. Recognition meant certain war with the United States, loss of American grain, loss of exports to the United States, loss of investments in American securities, potential loss of Canada and other North American colonies, higher taxes and a threat to the British merchant marine with little to gain in return. Many party leaders and the general public wanted no war with such high costs and meager benefits. Recognition was considered following the Second Battle of Manassas when the British government was preparing to mediate in the conflict, but the Union victory at the Battle of Antietam and Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, combined with internal opposition, caused the government to back away. In 1863, the Confederacy expelled all foreign consuls (all of them British or French diplomats) for advising their subjects to refuse to serve in combat against the U.S.

    There is also this, emphasizing the importance of diplomacy: “The United States’ diplomatic mission headed by Minister Charles Francis Adams, Sr. proved much more successful than the Confederate missions, which were never officially recognized.”

    Adams, of course, was the son of John Quincy Adams and grandson of John Adams. Talk about yer nepotism.

  47. 47
    Mnemosyne says:

    @MariedeGournay:

    John Brown probably set the abolitionist cause back, helped spark the war, and fears of a similar violent uprising contributed to the early demise of Reconstruction.

    Radicalism is not intrinsically good.

  48. 48
    AxelFoley says:

    @Brachiator:

    There is also this, emphasizing the importance of diplomacy: “The United States’ diplomatic mission headed by Minister Charles Francis Adams, Sr. proved much more successful than the Confederate missions, which were never officially recognized.”

    Sounds like the Union had a better ground game than the Confederates. Hmm…where have we seen that recently?

  49. 49
    Brachiator says:

    @different-church-lady:

    Completely blew my mind to read recently that the last living eyewitness to Lincoln’s assassination was making TV appearances in the 1950s. Time does funny things.

    An episode of I Remember Television spotlighted this with an episode of a game show that featured this gentleman. Crap, I forget whether it was To Tell the Truth or I’ve Got A Secret. The man was six years old at the time of Lincoln’s assassination. He won some money and a few packs of cigarettes.

    @JPL:

    South Carolina was the wealthiest state at the time and now one of the poorest. Although I understand the industrial age and all that, it still shocks me that they couldn’t adjust.

    This reminds me a lot of contemporary Republicans, who are willing to grind the economy to a halt if they don’t get their way.

  50. 50
    Pococurante says:

    @MikeJ:

    Texas didn’t hear about it until Juneteenth.

    Stupid internet.

  51. 51
    MariedeGournay says:

    @AxelFoley: Yes it feels good to make fun of all those bitchy advocates railing against cutting hardwon social programs that keep a good portion of the country out of poverty. They’re so unreasonable. Why don’t they have your dazzling wisdom to be quiet and trust.

  52. 52
    Brachiator says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    John Brown probably set the abolitionist cause back, helped spark the war, and fears of a similar violent uprising contributed to the early demise of Reconstruction.

    A little California trivia history:

    According to the Pasadena Star-News, Owen Brown was nearby when his father staged the famous slave revolt in 1859 at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. He moved to the Altadena area and died in 1889 at age 64, according to the [grave] stone. The paper has an online gallery of photos showing the stone.

    The grave stone went missing for a time and was apparently rediscovered by hikers.

  53. 53
  54. 54
    AxelFoley says:

    @MariedeGournay:

    The same advocates who kneecap the guy in the White House and one of the few in D.C. who is on their side. Who’s had to deal with historic obstruction from the other side–the other side that controls one house of Congress because emos would rather piss and moan than get their privileged asses into the ring.

    Yeah, they can shut the fuck up.

  55. 55
    Brachiator says:

    Hot rumor, from CNN:

    Rep. Tom Cole, the deputy GOP whip in the House, said he expects the chamber to pass the Senate fiscal cliff bill tonight without adding a package of spending cuts.

    Vote may happen shortly before 9pm.

    Is this the Twilight of the Boehner?

    Also, it may be that the incoming Congress does not want this albatross of a fiscal mess hanging around their necks.

  56. 56
    Seth Owen says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Well, except the New England secession movement left the Federalists so discredited the party disintegrated. The southern secessionists left us the Lost Cause myth and the modern GOP.

  57. 57
    Seth Owen says:

    If folks are interested here are some links to stories about our Emancipation Day celebrations here in Nowich, Conn., complete with Freedom Bell ringings, 100-gun Civil War cannon salute and more.

  58. 58
    Seth Owen says:

    If folks are interested here are some links to stories about our Emancipation Day celebrations here in Nowich, Conn., complete with Freedom Bell ringings, 100-gun Civil War cannon salute and more.

  59. 59
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @Seth Owen:

    Well, except that the Federalist Party reconstituted itself as the Whig Party, disintegrated again, reconstituted again as the Republican Party, broke off from the GOP 1n 1912, was absorbed by northern Democrats and became pretty much the majority of the Democratic Party after LBJ pushed and signed the Civil Rights Act. But, yeah, abolitionist-secessionists collapsed the Federalist Party.

  60. 60
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Technically, @SatanicPanic got there first.

  61. 61
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @JPL:

    The southern states felt that the United States Constitution gave them the right and it did.

    Then why not take their case for secession to the SCOTUS? Had they won there, there would have been a whole hell of a lot less blood spilled.

    South Carolina was the wealthiest state at the time and now one of the poorest.

    At some point, the Brits and French were going to figure out that they could get Egypt to start producing cotton, and that they could manage more favorable trade agreements with Egypt than they could with the USA, the CSA or whatever governing body eventually ended up representing and protecting the interests of the cotton planters of Dixie. Hell, it took ’em about two seconds to figure this out when the blockade of southern harbors kicked in.

    That’s to say, cotton- at least cotton grown in Dixie- had peaked.

  62. 62
    Crashman says:

    @JPL: The David Blight lectures are a must watch/listen to when it comes to the Civil War. In one of the early episodes, he quotes a startling statistic.

    by 1860, there were more millionaires (slaveholders all) living in the lower Mississippi Valley than anywhere else in the United States. In the same year, the nearly 4 million American slaves were worth some $3.5 billion, making them the largest single financial asset in the entire U.S. economy, worth more than all manufacturing and railroads combined.

    I think, when you look at it that way, the war isn’t really that surprising. The entire economic structure of a society, as corrupt and evil as it was, was at stake. Wars have been fought over much less.

  63. 63
    Brachiator says:

    @Crashman:

    The David Blight lectures are a must watch/listen to when it comes to the Civil War. In one of the early episodes, he quotes a startling statistic.

    Thanks for the tip. Looks as though this is available on iTunes and YouTube.

  64. 64
    Crashman says:

    @Brachiator: Yes, you can download them through iTunes and put them on your iPod. You really don’t need to watch them; just listen. They’re about an hour long each, and I think there are about 12 or 13 of them. I highly recommend listening to them. Not only is Blight one of the premiere scholars in the country on emancipation, but he does a good job of taking an axe to the Lost Cause mythology and gives a damn good lecture to boot.

  65. 65
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @Crashman:

    In the same year, the nearly 4 million American slaves were worth some $3.5 billion, making them the largest single financial asset in the entire U.S. economy, worth more than all manufacturing and railroads combined.

    Except that the value is based on the going rate of a slave on the market, and 1). The number of slaves on the market at the time was a small fraction of the total number of slaves, and 2). There was a bubble in the slave market at the time.

    If slavery had been banned in 1860, slave owners would have certainly taken a hit, because they would have had to pay for labor which had been close to free (there were costs incurred for feeding, clothing, housing and providing medical treatment, though these things were supplied, relative to that cost for free white folks, on the cheap). However, there was very little cost in getting new slaves, since most were born on the plantation on which they toiled for a lifetime.

  66. 66
    Crashman says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again):

    1). The number of slaves on the market at the time was a small fraction of the total number of slaves, and 2). There was a bubble in the slave market at the time.

    This is probably why slaveholders were so obsessed with expanding the slave states of the US. They needed new markets demanding human labor, so that they could keep selling people at a high price. There’s a reason they wanted to expand their slave empire through Mexico and into the Caribbean.

  67. 67
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @Crashman:

    You’re right, I’m sure of it, but the rise and fall of the financial value of slaves was chained to the value of one commodity alone- cotton- at that point, and that commodity doesn’t grow all that well in the neighborhood outside of Dixie. There was a reason that the experience of West Indian sugar planters wasn’t very painful when the UK banned slavery, and that’s because slave labor had become an inefficient system when other parts of the world, non-slaveholding parts, began planting sugar cane. Slaves are a burden to those who farm cereals because the prices are usually quite low. Ditto with livestock.

    What’s fucked up is that 20 years earlier, when the value of a cotton was at a low point, the value of slaves was also at a low point. Then, at the outset of the war. the planters didn’t realize that the cotton bales were backing up at the doors of the textile mills in Manchester, and couldn’t figure out, as I pointed out above, that Egypt was ripe for the planting. Hell, they hadn’t figured out that the Suez Canal, for which the ground was broken in 1859, was going to give Europe yet another source of cheap cotton! And after Suez opened, BAM!, the bottom dropped out of cotton!

    Were these planters- who were growing 90% of the world’s cotton in 1860- and their investors and lenders so stupid that they couldn’t spot the potential competititors, or were they irrationally exuberant?

  68. 68
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Jay C: Yup. The moment he issued the proclimation, it recast the war as a moral struggle to free the oppressed. Every single country in Europe was anti-slavery. And while there were countries like Great Britain that wanted to see the USA torn asunder so that they would have better market and shipping access and not have any difficulties on the high seas, they could not ally themselves with a country that practiced slavery against another country that was fighting to end it.

  69. 69
    Schlemizel says:

    @MariedeGournay:

    THANK YOU!

    @AxelFoley:
    They were, in fact, the emo fucktards of their day. try reading some history to see how they were talked about

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