Before viewing "Concerning Emancipation," read and view the following materials. They represent a selection made by the professor based on the readings available to the onscreen teachers. For additional primary source readings, go to Resources.
Documents | Images | A Biography of America Videos
Primary Sources: Documents
(Click here for information on using primary source documents)
First Debate, August 21, 1858
Fourth Debate, September 18, 1858
Seven 1858 campaign debates between Illinois Senator Stephen A. Douglas and challenger Abraham Lincoln focus on the question of whether slavery should be extended to the territories.
Appeal to Border State Representatives for Compensated Emancipation, Washington, D.C., July 12, 1862
President Lincoln proposes a plan for gradual, compensated emancipation in the slave states that have remained loyal to the Union.
Address on Colonization to a Committee of Colored Men, Washington, D.C., August, 14, 1862
President Lincoln discusses plans to colonize freedmen and -women to lands outside the United States.
An Appeal from the Colored Men of Philadelphia to the President of the United States, August 1862
Prominent African American citizens reply to Lincoln's "Address on Colonization."
Lincoln's Letter to Horace Greeley, August 22, 1862
President Lincoln responds to the editor of the New York Tribune, who publicly criticized him for failing to free all slaves who escaped to the Union Army.
Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, September 15, 1862
In this proclamation, Lincoln declares that unless rebellious states return to the Union by January 1, slaves in those states will be emancipated.
Emancipation Proclamation, January 1, 1863
Lincoln fulfills the promise of the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation and declares all slaves in rebel states free.
Letter to James C. Conkling, August 26, 1863
In a letter to be read to a mass meeting of loyal Union men, Lincoln addresses the anger and frustration that many Unionists feel over the Emancipation Proclamation and the length of the war.
Frederick Douglass' "How to End the War," May 1861
Abolitionist Frederick Douglass echoes the sentiments of most of his fellow African Americans who, from the beginning of the war, have advocated general emancipation and their right to join the armed forces.
Letter from John J. Cheatham, May 4, 1861
An educated, white male from Georgia writes to the Confederate Secretary of War, portraying some of the concerns Southern whites have about slaves during the Civil War.
Letter from Major George E. Waring, Jr., December 19, 1861
A Union regimental commander writes about enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act with regard to runaway slaves behind Army lines in the border states.
Letter from General Benjamin F. Butler, May 27, 1861
The Union commander of Fortress Monroe in Virginia writes to his superiors, inquiring as to what should be done about slaves who have escaped to the Union Army camp.
Letter from John Boston, January 12, 1862
A runaway slave who takes shelter with a New York regiment of the Union army writes to his wife, Elizabeth, who had remained in Maryland.
Letter from Hannah Johnson, July 31, 1863
The mother of an African American soldier in the 54th Massachusetts Infantry writes to President Lincoln to appeal for equal treatment of African American soldiers taken as prisoners of war.
Letter from Corporal James Henry Gooding, September 28, 1863
A freeborn corporal of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry writes to President Lincoln, protesting the unequal pay of African American soldiers in the Union Army.
Primary Sources: Images
(Click here for information on using images)
Gordon Cotton photo
Taken during the Civil War, this photograph is of a slave named Gordon who took advantage of the dislocations of war to run away from a Mississippi plantation and into Union lines. An assistant surgeon general took his photograph and circulated it as evidence of the barbarity and cruelty of the slaveholding class. The image also appeared in Harper's Weekly magazine, where it was used as a recruitment poster to enlist African American soldiers.
view small | view large
Lincoln Freedmen Memorial
This statue was commissioned by emancipated African Americans as a memorial to Abraham Lincoln. It was sculpted by Thomas Ball and dedicated in 1876 in Washington, D.C., by Frederick Douglass. A replica of the statue requested by Massachusetts legislator Moses Kimball was dedicated in 1879 in Boston. The statue was based on a picture of Archer Alexander, the last slave captured in Missouri under the fugitive slave law, and was supposed to be a depiction of the slave breaking his own chains, an agent of his own deliverance. Many people, however, including Frederick Douglass, saw it differently: The African American man was kneeling, a supplicant for his freedom, and his face showed no apparent appreciation of his new dignified position in society. Speaking at the unveiling of the statue, Douglass gave Lincoln credit for his achievements, but remarked that the statue was a white man's monument to a white man's president.
view small | view large
A Biography of America: Video Series (optional)
(Click here for information on using A Biography of America)
Program 10: The Coming of the Civil War (26:26)
Simmering regional differences ignite an all-out crisis in the 1850s. Professor Waldo Martin teams with Professor Donald Miller and historian Stephen Ambrose to chart the succession of incidents, from "Bloody Kansas" to the shots on Fort Sumter, that inflame the conflict between North and South to the point of civil war.
Program 11: The Civil War (26:46)
As the Civil War rages, all eyes turn to Vicksburg, where limited war becomes total war. Professor Donald Miller looks at the ferocity of the fighting, at Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, and the bitter legacy of the battle and the war.