A Northerner Reflects on the Significance of the Emancipation Proclamation
Digital History ID 395
A Northerner reflects on the significance of the Emancipation Proclamation, which went into effect sixteen days before this letter was written.
The partial Proclamation has gone forth from the White House that the slaves of rebels shall be free while the slaves of union men are to remain in bondage till dooms day unless their masters are willing to sell them to the government for a stipulated price.... But how is the Proclamation to be enforced? Through fields of Hope and carnage, something in death groans, for the rebels will never surrender their long loved institution only at the cannon's mouth and the point of the bayonet. Why did not the Doctor remove the cause before the Patient was worn out by the disease; he knew how but was afraid to administer [the medicine]...for fear...that the border states would be lost to the Union.
Source: Gilder Lehrman Institute
Additional information: Amos Lewis to his nephew Seth Lewis
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