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Join The Gist of Freedom as we broadcast Live From Long Island University at The 150th Emancipation Proclamation Celebration with historian Harold Holzer! Watch The Video
In 1861, Congress passed an act stating that all enslaved people employed against the Union were to be considered free. In 1862, Congress passed The Second Confiscation Act. This law stated that property used by the Confederates to further their rebellion could be seized by the U.S. government. African Americans who had been once considered by the Confederates as their property, were therefore now considered by abolitionists as "contraband of war". And as such this war law, The Confiscation Act could be used to legally take the enslaved from Slavers. In an effort to placate the slave-holding Border States, Lincoln resisted the demands of the abolitionists, Black and White, for complete abolition. In addition to the Confiscation Act, President Lincoln signed a bill, passed by Congress, which prohibited the army and navy from returning fugitive slaves to slave holder claimants. Any officer violating the law would be discharged from service, and would be forever ineligible to any appointment in the military or naval service of the United States. This ended the shameful practice by northern generals of returning Africans to slavery for a fugitive slave reward, and it also stimulated the flight
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