April 10, 1862: Congressional Joint Resolution on Compensated Emancipation



Throughout the year 1862 the war for the Union in the North also became a war to abolish slavery, culminating in the Emancipation Proclamation.  There were many milestones on the path to the Proclamation and one of the more important was a Joint Resolution of Congress on compensated emancipation on April 10, 1862:

Joint Resolution declaring that the United States ought to coöperate with, affording pecuniary Aid to any State which may adopt the gradual Abolishment of Slavery.Be it resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,That the United States ought to coöperate with any State which may adopt gradual abolishment of slavery, giving to such State pecuniary aid, to be used by such State in its discretion, to compensate for the inconveniences, public and private, produced by such change of system.

APPROVED, April 10, 1862.

Abraham Lincoln was in favor of compensated emancipation from the 1840s, a stance that he held to throughout the Civil War.    Here is an excellent article on Mr. Lincoln and compensated emancipation.  Lincoln offered compensated emancipation time and time again, the last time being at the Hampton Roads Peace Conference on February 3, 1865, when the Confederacy was clearly almost defeated.  His proposal was rejected by the Confederates.  The simple fact is that neither slave holders in the Confederacy nor in the border states had any interest in compensated emancipation.

Although compensated emancipation was a non-starter, the resolution clearly indicated that a majority in Congress, and the nation, were ready take action to end slavery.  If compensation would not work, then force would end an institution that had existed in what was now the United States for a quarter of a millennium.


Published in: on April 10, 2012 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on April 10, 1862: Congressional Joint Resolution on Compensated Emancipation  
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