A Slice of Northern Reaction to Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation



We think of the many trials and tribulations of Abraham Lincoln-his being born into poverty, the struggles of frontier life, the many deaths that occurred in his family, and, of course, the Civil War. Frankly, I don’t know how he kept himself together. He was a depressive-sometimes suicidal-as some have said. He cried at times in his office. He wasn’t super human-we all know that. But there was another time in his life when he was particularly troubled. In fact, he was alone and virtually without a friend. Even his wife Mary wasn’t, at least initially, favorable to him. Ironically, the time in question should have been one of the greatest moments of his life. It did become one of his greatest moments after his death. What am I referring to? ┬áThe issuing of his Emancipation Proclamation. He was criticized by everyone. It probably was an expected reaction in the South. ┬áBut, in truth, foes and friends alike expressed more than distain for the action. The Northern press was especially harsh. Reading some of the newspaper statements now in 2011, it seems unbelievable that the Proclamation could have been viewed the way it was. Here are a few samples as found in The Unpopular Mr. Lincoln by Larry Tagg:

“A wicked, artrocious and revolting deed”

“Crowning act of folly”

“The most foolish joke ever got off by the six-foot-four Commander-in-Chief”

“Monstrous, impudent and heinous abolition proceeding”

“Unwise, and ill-timed, impracticable, and outside the constitution”

“Miserable balderdash”

“Never was a blacker crime sought to be committed against nature, against humanity, against the holy precepts of Christianity”


These statements flowed from what should have been friendly sources. This period of time in Mr. Lincoln’s life was, perhaps, his darkest hour.



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One Response to “A Slice of Northern Reaction to Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation”

  1. This is one awesome post.Much thanks again. Cool.

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