OT: Emancipation Proclamation

Submitted by Bryan on June 20th, 2011 at 8:57 PM
For those in the Metro Detroit area, it's at The Henry Ford from now until 6am on Wednesday. First time displayed in Michigan since c. 1947.

Been in line for about 2 hours and probably have an hour to go.



June 20th, 2011 at 9:01 PM ^

The Henry Ford museum always has important objects on display.

I've been to a couple museums that are upset that the Henry Ford museum has things that they want.  This includes Ford's Theatre in Washington DC, they made a snide comment about people in Michigan having the chair Lincoln was shot in.

Mr Mackey

June 20th, 2011 at 9:03 PM ^

I wanted to see it, but had to head back to Atlanta for the week. Very cool opportunity, though. 

Stupid question by Waggles time: What does the "c." in front of the year mean? (And if it's an obvious answer, then I totally meant to add an /s at the end of this)


June 20th, 2011 at 9:13 PM ^

It is too bad that a lot of people devalue the Emancipation Proclamation.

I hear a lot of people say that when it was issued that it didn't actually free a lot of slaves, since it was freeing slaves in rebel held areas of the south, since it would take the Union Armies to slowly enforce it.  That is like saying the Declaration of Independence is meaningless, because it didn't actually instantly free any Americans from British control - the Continental Army would have to do that.

People also lose the context of how controversial this was, how some in Lincoln's cabinet urged him not to issue it at all.  Ultimately he took the advice of waiting until they had a solid victory in the east.  Antietam was this 'victory' (if you will call it that).

Ultimately the Emancipation Proclamation would free the majority of the slaves in America and allow African Americans to serve in the military  The 13th Amendment freed all of the rest of the slaves and permanently banned the peculiar institution in 1865.


June 20th, 2011 at 10:53 PM ^

Good for Lincoln that the courts disagreed with you.  The Emancipation Proclamation was a legitimate war time power to weaken the enemy.

Additionally, I find a lot of the people who claim that Lincoln acted unconstitutionally ignore that Jefferson Davis was essentially doing everything that Lincoln was doing and usually first.


June 21st, 2011 at 12:07 AM ^

Jefferson Davis and the CSA violated Habeas Corpus in their constitution as much as Lincoln and the USA did.

Congress was not in session when Lincoln suspended Habeas Corpus and they chose not to go against Lincoln when they returned.  Congress did not go against Lincoln's suspension of Habeas Corpus, because they believed as Lincoln did that Maryland's state legislature was pro-confederate and pro-slavery.  At the start of the Civil War to lose Maryland is to lose the war.  Congress felt that Lincoln needed to make the move to not lose the war.

If the Union lost the capital Washington DC and free troop movement throught the state that would most likely mean hello foreign recognition of the CSA.

Of course pro-confederates scream about Lincoln's violation of Habeas Corpus and choose to turn a blind eye to Jefferson Davis' violations of the same principle.

West Virginia is very mountainous, which makes it poor for plantations and therefore had less slaves.  With less slaves the majority of West Virginia was pro-Union.  Virginia chose not participate in US politics, except for the loyal congressman, who stayed in the Union and approved the will of the majoirty of people in West Virginia.  Virginia can't have it both ways, claiming that aren't a part of the US and then claiming that they weren't fairly represented as only their loyal state congress members approved of the new state (since any state must approve of a loss of its own land under the US constitution).


June 21st, 2011 at 2:07 AM ^

Is kind of apples and oranges. There wer some notable differences in these constitions, including the limits of congressional power, and increased presidential power (including a line item veto. Davis wasn't the president of the US so when people talk about problems of US presidents it kind of makes sense that he is overlooked. Double Standard? yes Makes sense? yes.

As far as the Habeas Corpus however Judge Taney ruled against Lincoln In Ex Parte Merryman that his actions were unconstituiona;l/ Lincoln had the power to call an emergency session of congress if the issue was necessary, which could have agreed to suspend the writ. Congress approval ex post facto does nothing for the fact that the way the action itself was obtained.

Lincoln himself noted that the power was of congress, but the constitution was silent on how to excercise that.  Even accepting that loose construction, and the fact that it may have been neccessary to perserve the union the process itself was not legitamate. 

Ignoring Taney's decision was as much of an issue as anything else, in that it violates all concepts found in Marbury v Madison, and no approval from congress or refusal to agree with the judge by the miltary change that violation.




June 21st, 2011 at 7:50 AM ^

No it is not like Apples and Oranges.  The CSA had the same Habeas Corpus laws and the CSA/Jefferson violated it as much as the USA/Lincoln.

To complain about Lincoln suspending Habeas Corpus in Maryland 1861 is to say that Lincoln should have sat on his hands when congress was out of session and let the Union break apart.  That would be a Buchanan move, which is why congress did nothing to stop Lincoln once in session, since it put us in the best position to presserve the Union.

It is not 2011, when congress can be quickly assembled.  "The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it." Lincoln acted quickly, it truly helped save the Union and only a minority of congressman opposed, there was never a serious threat to overturn Lincoln's action by congress.

You can find a similar fault for virtually every president, this one of Lincoln's further's the preservation of the country.  Lincoln probably would have been more lenient during reconstruction had he lived and Lincoln was the first president to propose expanding suffrage to African-Americans.  He was so much more than a man who made a temporary decision to suspend Habeas Corpus to keep us as one country.


Justice Taney was a ruthless southerner who had previous ruled that African-Americans could never be considered a citizen, African-Americans could not bring a case to court, slaves could be brought into free areas and remain slaves (anti-state's rights - something the south was if it would help slavery expand) and that kids born of a free parent and a slave parent in a free territory would make both parents and all kids slaves.

If you are so concerned with legality issues, then surely you blame the Confederate leaders for not taking a case to the southerner dominated Supreme Court to test the legality of secession when they broke off?


June 21st, 2011 at 10:11 AM ^

The reason i siad its apples and oranges is that the CSA and USA are seperate. The legality of the CSA's actions should have no bearing on the legality of LIncoln's actions.

Maryland itself was not in rebellion, thus extending the exception found in the Constitution would be a stretch. Lincoln may have been right to suspend habeas corpus, but that doesn't mean its right. Congress's approval has no affect on the legality of it. The senate was stil in session in March of 1861, before Fort Sumpter was attacked, but after seccession had begun. Something  could have been done at this time.

Saying that other presidents ahd issues does not make what Lincoln did any more right, in the same way that CSA violations do not make Lincoln right.

The issues with Taney aside, Lincoln either had to appeal the decision or abide by it. Taney was the Chief Justice for better or worse. Licoln's future and Taney's past overlook the fact that Judicial review was found in Merryman, and simply ignored.

Again the failure of the CSA and Southern States to act legally should not be justification for other abuses of the system. As much as you note that its unfair to LIncoln to ignroe CSA violations in judging him, using that as a justification for his actions is a slippery slope.


June 21st, 2011 at 12:24 AM ^

And back to your original point, the Emancipation Proclamation isn't devalued because of anything that Lincoln did that some may find dishonorable.  In fact, Lincoln is frequently cited as the best president ever by scholars in a broad range of fields.  The Emancipation Proclamation is devalued because people do not understand the context of September 1862 when it was announced and January 1863 when it became law.

-The EP was highly controversial in the north and obviously also in the south.  In fact race riots occured in the summer of 1863 as many whites would fight to preserve the Union, but not to free slaves that would 'take their factory jobs once free.'

-Lincoln argued that constitutionally he could only free slaves in rebel areas as a war time measure from his title as commander in chief.  Had no legal power to do so in the loyal areas.

-Lincoln felt he could not win the war if he severely offended the "loyal" slave states like Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland and Delaware..."I would like to have God on my side, but I must have Kentucky"

-The EP freed around 3 out of 4 of the slaves and the 13th amendment freed the rest and permanently banned the practice everywhere in the US.

-A few slaves were freed instantly on January 1st 1863, but it was a slow process lasting right up until the end of the war.

-The EP guaranteed that Britain and France would not recognize or significantly assist the CSA against the USA.  If Britain or France (or both) helped the CSA with any signifigance it may have been game set match.

-Lincoln announced it right after the bloodiest day in US history -- Antietam -- a battle that McClellan should have destroyed Lee and possibly signaled the start of the end of the war, but Lee got away.  Hundreds of thousands of more deaths happened, but the EP was able to be issued and it freed millions that might not have been freed had McClellan meeted potential victory he had in his grasp.

-Russia was working of freeing their serfs at the same time.


June 21st, 2011 at 2:13 AM ^

I guess what i was more generally saying is general American's knowledge of their history is limited. Half the country probably wouldnt know the difference between the 13th amendment and the EP. 

It is hard then for an average person to seperate political opinions with clear information. The EP is generally taught as a mere sidenote to the end of the Civil War, and that clear information as such is lacking.


June 20th, 2011 at 9:32 PM ^

As someone who always enjoy's going to see the Declaration of Independance when I'm in DC I will have to try to get over and see it. Thanks for the heads up.


June 20th, 2011 at 10:27 PM ^

there is an annual celebration of the day Emancipation Day (May 20), when word is said to have arrived here--gathering (with food!) that we were invited to join this year, but couldn't make. I look forward to checking it out, and to taking my daughter with. 

Says good things about people that there are long lines to see it. Cheers me up after reading the news!


June 20th, 2011 at 10:07 PM ^


This is the kind of cool history stuff that nerds like myself get all excited about.  The history behind the Proclamation is fascinating. 


June 20th, 2011 at 10:10 PM ^

Tried to talk my wife into naming our soon-to-be-born son Lincoln, but she wouldn't bite.  Also wouldn't go for Bo, Bump, Fielding or Tshimanga.

And I agree with "backdunesman" about the Proclamation being devalued.  Who could say the document which led to freeing 4 million people wasn't that important?  Probably started by  the same loser southerner who started the whole, "the war wasn't really about slavery" thing.  I don't know about you guys, but I hope the south does rise again..... it's about time for another ass-whoopin'.


June 20th, 2011 at 10:37 PM ^

Of the founding fathers, but we don't live on that country anymore, we live in the post civil war, reconstruction USA, for better or for worse. It is during the civil war and recon that we get income taxes, a standing military, the roots of Jim crow, the myth of the noble lost cause.

M Fanfare

June 21st, 2011 at 12:07 AM ^

Dang, right after I move out of Ann Arbor they have the Emancipation Proclaimation. I would have loved to go see it.

I did an internship in Washington a few years ago and when I visited the National Archives they had the Articles of Confederation on display. Since they're in poor condition they only are going to bring them out every 80-100 years, so it was a rare sighting. Even though they were replaced, it was pretty thrilling to see our first Constitution. It bears some great Founders' names too, including John Hancock, Sam Adams, Elbridge Gerry, Roger Sherman, James Duane, Gouvernor Morris, John Dickinson, and Richard Henry Lee.


June 21st, 2011 at 8:31 AM ^

I got there about 11'ish last night.  The parking lot was packed. 

I went home and returned about 2:45AM.  The wait was still near 4 hours so I looked around and then left.  When I was leaving someone commented that it took them 5 hours.

So if you go you will need lots of time.  I may try again tonight if I can muster up the energy.