The online tool for teaching with documents, from the National Archives

From Slavery to Juneteenth: Emancipation and Ending Enslavement

Finding a Sequence

All documents and text associated with this activity are printed below, followed by a worksheet for student responses.

Introduction

Explore the following documents from the ratification of the Constitution of the United States through General Order No. 3 (also known as the Juneteenth Order) that informed the enslaved people of Texas that they were free.  Closely examine each document and then place them in chronological order according to when they were created.

For each of the documents, consider the following: 

  • Do you think this document is a step forward towards emancipation?
  • Do you think this document is a step backwards strengthening slavery?
  • What groups of people pushed for emancipation? What steps did they take? 


Name:
Class:

Worksheet

From Slavery to Juneteenth: Emancipation and Ending Enslavement

Finding a Sequence

Examine the documents in this activity. Put the corresponding document numbers in order using the list below. Write your conclusion response in the space provided.

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20



1

Activity Element

Judgment in the U.S. Supreme Court Case Dred Scott v. John F. A. Sandford

Page 2



2

Activity Element

Joint Resolution Proposing the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution

Page 2



3

Activity Element

Petition from Citizens of New York Asking that Slavery and the Slave-trade may be Expressly Prohibited by Act of Congress in all the Territories of the United States

Page 1



4

Activity Element

General Order No. 3, issued by Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger

Page 1



5

Activity Element

Newspaper Advertisement in the "True Democrat" for Runaway Slaves

Page 1



6

Activity Element

An Act of March 2, 1807, 9th Congress, 2nd Session, 2 STAT 426, to Prohibit the Importation of Slaves

Page 1



7

Activity Element

Circular Entitled Colored Soldiers! Equal State Rights! And Monthly Pay with White Men!

Page 1



8

Activity Element

Emancipation Proclamation

Page 1



9

Activity Element

Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854

Page 1



10

Activity Element

House Joint Resolution (H.J. Res.) 80 Proposing a Constitutional Amendment to Prohibit Congress from Abolishing Slavery

Page 1



11

Activity Element

Bill of Sale for Slave Named George

Page 1



12

Activity Element

Resolution introduced by Senator Henry Clay in relation to the adjustment of all existing questions of controversy between the states arising out of the institution of slavery (the resolution later became known as the Compromise of 1850)

Page 1



13

Activity Element

Petition of Absalom Jones and Others — People of Color and Freemen of Philadelphia — Against the Slave Trade to the Coast of Guinea

Page 1



14

Activity Element

Message of President Abraham Lincoln recommending a resolution to encourage the gradual emancipation of slaves

Page 1



15

Activity Element

U.S. Brigadier General R. H. Milroy`s Order to Citizens of Winchester and Frederick County, Virginia in Reference to the Emancipation Proclamation of President Abraham Lincoln

Page 1



16

Activity Element

An Act of April 16, 1862 [For the Release of Certain Persons Held to Service or Labor in the District of Columbia],

Page 1



17

Activity Element

Anti-Slavery Petition from the Women of Philadelphia

Page 1



18

Activity Element

Letter from Benjamin Franklin Transmitting a Letter from James Pemberton and a Petition from the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery to Vice President John Adams

Page 1



19

Activity Element

An Act Respecting Escapees from Justice, and Persons Escaping from the Service of their Masters

Page 1



20

Activity Element

Presidential Proclamation 90 by President Abraham Lincoln Revoking General David Hunter`s Order of Military Emancipation

Page 1



Conclusion

From Slavery to Juneteenth: Emancipation and Ending Enslavement

Finding a Sequence

The events described in these documents are, of course, not the only important events in this story.  Using examples from the activity and your own background knowledge, write 1-3 paragraphs in which you describe the key events leading up to the end of slavery. Explain why each of these documents is an essential part of the story. How did each event contribute to the end of slavery, and why is it important? Make sure to include details about the people who pushed for emancipation. In your answers, note which documents represented the greatest steps forward towards emancipation and which steps led backwards towards strengthening slavery. 


Your Response




Document

U.S. Brigadier General R. H. Milroy's Order to Citizens of Winchester and Frederick County, Virginia in Reference to the Emancipation Proclamation of President Abraham Lincoln

1/5/1863


Additional details from our exhibits and publications

Four days after President Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation, U.S. Brig. Gen. R. H. Milroy put the citizens of Frederick County and Winchester, Virginia, on notice with this order. It warned that all those who opposed the Proclamation would be treated as “rebels in arms.”
This primary source comes from the War Department Collection of Confederate Records.
National Archives Identifier: 4662609
Full Citation: U.S. Brigadier General R. H. Milroy's Order to Citizens of Winchester and Frederick County, Virginia in Reference to the Emancipation Proclamation of President Abraham Lincoln; 1/5/1863; War Department Collection of Confederate Records, . [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/us-brigadier-general-r-h-milroys-order-to-citizens-of-winchester-and-frederick-county-virginia-in-reference-to-the-emancipation-proclamation-of-president-abraham-lincoln, October 6, 2022]


U.S. Brigadier General R. H. Milroy's Order to Citizens of Winchester and Frederick County, Virginia in Reference to the Emancipation Proclamation of President Abraham Lincoln

Page 1



U.S. Brigadier General R. H. Milroy's Order to Citizens of Winchester and Frederick County, Virginia in Reference to the Emancipation Proclamation of President Abraham Lincoln

Page 2



Document

Circular Entitled Colored Soldiers! Equal State Rights! And Monthly Pay with White Men!

12/15/1863

This recruiting poster was directed at black men during the Civil War. It includes information on protection of "colored troops" and refers to efforts by the Lincoln administration to provide equal pay for black soldiers and equal protection for black POWs.

Black troops faced greater peril than white troops if captured by the Confederate Army. In 1863, in response both to the enlistment of black troops by the Union and fear of slave uprisings, the Confederate Congress threatened to severely punish the officers of black troops and to enslave the black soldiers. As a result, President Abraham Lincoln issued General Order 233, quoted in this document, threatening reprisal on Confederate prisoners of war (POWs) for any mistreatment of black troops. Although the threat generally restrained the Confederates, and neither the North nor the South officially followed through with their threats, black captives were typically treated more harshly than white captives by the Confederate Army.

This circular was enclosed in a letter from Dr. Martin Robinson Delany to Secretary of War Edwin Stanton. Delany was a black doctor, abolitionist, newspaper editor, writer, and politician who recruited for the United States Colored Troops (U.S.C.T.). After meeting with President Abraham Lincoln in 1865 about how to end the war, Dr. Delany was commissioned as a major, becoming the first black field officer in the United States Army. After the Civil War, he worked for the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands – better known as the Freedmen's Bureau.
This primary source comes from the Records of the Adjutant General's Office.
National Archives Identifier: 5730498
Full Citation: Circular Entitled Colored Soldiers! Equal State Rights! And Monthly Pay with White Men!; 12/15/1863 ; File Number D-135 1863; Letters Received, 1863 - 1894; Records of the Adjutant General's Office, ; National Archives Building, Washington, DC. [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/circular-colored-soldiers, October 6, 2022]


Circular Entitled Colored Soldiers! Equal State Rights! And Monthly Pay with White Men!

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Circular Entitled Colored Soldiers! Equal State Rights! And Monthly Pay with White Men!

Page 2



Document

Joint Resolution Proposing the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution

1/31/1865

This is a draft of a joint resolution proposing the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution that started in the Senate. A joint resolution is a formal opinion adopted by both houses of the legislative branch. A constitutional amendment must be passed as a joint resolution before it is sent to the states for ratification. This particular resolution became the 13th Amendment, ending slavery in the United States in 1865.

In 1863, President Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation declaring “all persons held as slaves within any State, or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.” Nonetheless, the Emancipation Proclamation did not end slavery in the nation since it only applied to areas of the Confederacy currently in a state of rebellion (and not even to the loyal “border states” that remained in the Union). Lincoln recognized that the Emancipation Proclamation would have to be followed by a constitutional amendment in order to guarantee the abolishment of slavery.

The 13th Amendment was passed at the end of the Civil War before the Southern states had been restored to the Union, and should have easily passed in Congress. However, though the Senate passed it in April 1864, the House initially did not. At that point, Lincoln took an active role to ensure passage through Congress. He insisted that passage of the 13th Amendment be added to the Republican Party platform for the upcoming 1864 Presidential election. His efforts met with success when the House passed the bill in January 1865 with a vote of 119–56.

On February 1, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln approved the Joint Resolution of Congress submitting the proposed amendment to the state legislatures. The necessary number of states (three-fourths) ratified it by December 6, 1865. The 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."

With the adoption of the 13th Amendment, the United States found a final constitutional solution to the issue of slavery. The 13th Amendment, along with the 14th and 15th, is one of the trio of Civil War amendments that greatly expanded the civil rights of Americans.

Transcript

Thirty-Eighth Congress of the United States
At the Second Session
Begun and held at the City of Washington, on Monday, the fifth day of December, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-four

A Resolution
Submitting to the legislatures of the several States a proposition to amend the Constitution of the United States.

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
(two-thirds of both houses concurring), that the following article be proposed to the legislatures of the several states as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which, when ratified by three-fourths of said Legislatures shall be
valid, to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution, namely: Article XIII. Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.  Section 2.  Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Schuyler Colfax
Speaker of the House of Representatives

Hannibal Hamlin
Vice President of the United States
and President of the Senate

Approved February 1, 1865                                                             Abraham Lincoln
This primary source comes from the General Records of the United States Government.
National Archives Identifier: 1408764
Full Citation: Joint Resolution Proposing the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution; 1/31/1865; Enrolled Acts and Resolutions of Congress, 1789 - 2011; General Records of the United States Government, ; National Archives Building, Washington, DC. [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/thirteenth-amendment, October 6, 2022]


Joint Resolution Proposing the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution

Page 2



Document

Newspaper Advertisement in the "True Democrat" for Runaway Slaves

1862

This primary source comes from the Records of U.S. Army Continental Commands.
National Archives Identifier: 3854692
Full Citation: Newspaper Advertisement in the "True Democrat" for Runaway Slaves; 1862; Records of U.S. Army Continental Commands, . [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/newspaper-advertisement-in-the-true-democrat-for-runaway-slaves, October 6, 2022]


Newspaper Advertisement in the "True Democrat" for Runaway Slaves

Page 1



Document

Letter from Benjamin Franklin Transmitting a Letter from James Pemberton and a Petition from the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery to Vice President John Adams

2/1790

Benjamin Franklin sent this letter to Vice President John Adams, transmitting a letter from James Pemberton and a petition from the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery.

Franklin had signed the petition as member and president of the Pennsylvania Society, which was one of three organizations who sent anti-slavery petitions to the First U.S. Congress as part of the first unified campaign to abolish slavery. The three organizations were the Philadelphia and New York Yearly Meetings of the Society of Friends (Quakers) and the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery. The Pennsylvania Society was believed to be the most influential of the three organizations.

On February 3, 1790, Franklin signed this petition, which he sent to Congress on February 9, 1790. It called on Congress to "devise means for removing the Inconsistency from the Character of the American People" and to "promote mercy and justice toward this distressed Race." While Franklin's petition was considered the most radical, all three petitions sparked intense debate in the House and the Senate.

After a day of debate, the Senate decided to take no action on the petitions. The House referred them to a select committee for further consideration. The committee reported on March 5, 1790, stating that the Constitution restrained Congress from prohibiting the importation of slaves until 1808 and interfering with the emancipation of slaves. The House then tabled the petitions, effectively ending the debate on the issue of slavery in the First Congress.

Transcript

Philadelphia, Feby 9th 1790
Sir,
At the Request of the Pennsylvania Society for the Abolition of Slavery, I have Honour of presenting to your Excellency the enclosed Petition, which I beg leave to recommend to your favourable Notice. Some further Particulars respecting it, request by the Society, will appear in their Letter to me, of which I enclose a Copy, and have the Honour to be, Sir,

Your Excellency’s most obedient & most humble Servant B Franklin Presidt of the Society

His Excellency John Adams Esq Vice President of the United States



Copy [encircled]

Esteemed Friend,

Herewith are two Copies of a Memorial unanimously agreed to by the Pennsylvania Society for promoting the Abolition of Slavery &c. at a special Meeting held the 3rd Inst. and I have it in charge to request the President to sign and forward them by the first Post und Cover, one of them to the President of the Senate, & the other to the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States, with a few Lines desiring the Favor of each to embrace the earliest and most suitable Opportunity to present the Memorial to the House in which he presides, and if Directions can be given to have it published at large on their Minutes, it will be most agreeable to the Memorialists.

Thy respectful Friend
Benj Franklin Esq Jams Pemberton
President of the Pennsyla
Society for promoting The Abolition of Slavery &c. 2 mo. 5. 1790



To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America

The memorial of the Pennsylvania Society for promoting the Abolition of Slavery, the relief of free Negroes unlawfully held in bondage, and the Improvement of the Condition of the African Race -
Respectfully Sheweth,
That from a regard for the happiness of Mankind an Association was formed several years since in this State by a number of her Citizens of various religious denominations for promoting the Abolition of Slavery and for the relief of those unlawfully held in bondage. A just and accurate Conception of the true Principles of liberty, as it spread through the land, produced accessions to their numbers, many friends to their Cause, and a legislative Co-operation with their views, which, by the blessing of Divine Providence, have been successfully directed to the relieving from bondage a large number of their fellow Creatures of the African Race - They have also the Satisfaction to observe, that in consequence of that Spirit of Philanthropy and genuine liberty which is generally diffusing its beneficial Influence, similar Institutions are gradually forming at home and abroad.

That mankind are all formed by the same Almighty being, alike objects of his Care and equally designed for the Enjoyment of Happiness the Christian Religion teaches us to believe, and the Political Creed of America fully coincides with the Position. Your Memorialists, particularly engaged in attending to the Distresses arising from Slavery, believe it their indispensable Duty to present this Subject to your notice - They have observed with great Satisfaction that many important and salutary Powers are vested in you for "promoting the Welfare and securing the blessing of liberty to the People of the United States". And as they conceive; that these blessing ought rightfully to be administered, without distinction of Colour, to all descriptions of People, so they indulge themselves in the pleasing expectation, that nothing which can be done for the relief of the unhappy objects of their care, will be either omitted or delayed.

From a persuasion that equal liberty was originally the Portion, and is still the Birthright of all Men, and influenced by the strong ties of Humanity and the Principles of their Institution, your Memorialists conceive themselves bound



[start underline in pencil] bound to use all justifiable endeavours to loosen the bands of Slavery [end underline] and promote a general Enjoyment of the blessings of Freedom. Under these Impressions they earnestly entreat your serious attention to the Subject of Slavery, that you will be pleased to countenance the [start underline in pencil] Restoration of Liberty [end underline] to those unhappy Men, who alone, in this land of Freedom, are degraded into perpetual Bondage, and who, amidst the general Joy of surrounding Freemen, are groaning in Servile Subjection, that you will devise means for removing this [start underline in pencil] Inconsistency from the Character of the American People [end underline] - that you will promote Mercy and Justice towards this distressed Race, and that you will Step to the very verge of the Powers vested in you for discouraging every Species of Traffick in the Persons of our fellow Men.

Philadelphia Febry 3: 1790
[signature]
B. Franklin
Presid[ent] of the Society
This primary source comes from the Records of the U.S. Senate.
National Archives Identifier: 306388
Full Citation: Letter from Benjamin Franklin Transmitting a Letter from James Pemberton and a Petition from the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery to Vice President John Adams; 2/1790; Petitions and Memorials and Resolutions of State Legislatures Submitted to the 1st Congress; Petitions and Related Documents That Were Presented, Read, or Tabled, 1789 - 1966; Records of the U.S. Senate, ; National Archives Building, Washington, DC. [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/franklin-adams-slavery-petition, October 6, 2022]


Letter from Benjamin Franklin Transmitting a Letter from James Pemberton and a Petition from the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery to Vice President John Adams

Page 1



Letter from Benjamin Franklin Transmitting a Letter from James Pemberton and a Petition from the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery to Vice President John Adams

Page 2



Letter from Benjamin Franklin Transmitting a Letter from James Pemberton and a Petition from the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery to Vice President John Adams

Page 3



Letter from Benjamin Franklin Transmitting a Letter from James Pemberton and a Petition from the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery to Vice President John Adams

Page 4



Document

House Joint Resolution (H.J. Res.) 80 Proposing a Constitutional Amendment to Prohibit Congress from Abolishing Slavery

3/2/1861

H.J. Res. 80, the Corwin Amendment, proposed a constitutional amendment to prohibit Congress from abolishing slavery. As noted at the bottom of the amendment, the resolution passed by two-thirds in the House on February 28, 1861, and two-thirds in the Senate on March 3, 1861. A joint resolution is a formal opinion adopted by both houses of the legislative branch. A constitutional amendment must be passed as a joint resolution before it is sent to the states for ratification.

Weeks before the Civil War started, there was still hope of preserving peace and saving the Union. Representative Thomas Corwin (R-OH) introduced an amendment to sustain slavery and make the amendment itself unamendable. Congress approved it, but the Civil War started before the states could ratify. Four years later, the states ratified the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery—the opposite of Corwin’s proposal.
This primary source comes from the Records of the U.S. Senate.
National Archives Identifier: 24824293
Full Citation: House Joint Resolution (H.J. Res.) 80 Proposing a Constitutional Amendment to Prohibit Congress from Abolishing Slavery; 3/2/1861; Records of the U.S. Senate, . [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/amendment-prohibit-abolishing-slavery, October 6, 2022]


House Joint Resolution (H.J. Res.) 80 Proposing a Constitutional Amendment to Prohibit Congress from Abolishing Slavery

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House Joint Resolution (H.J. Res.) 80 Proposing a Constitutional Amendment to Prohibit Congress from Abolishing Slavery

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Document

An Act Respecting Escapees from Justice, and Persons Escaping from the Service of their Masters

2/12/1793

The United States passed this law, its first fugitive slave law, in 1793. It gave owners of escaped slaves the right to reclaim them:
...when a person held to labor in any of the United States...shall escape into any other part of the said States or Territory, the person to whom such labor or service may be due, his agent or attorney, is hereby empowered to seize or arrest such fugitive from labor, and to take him or her before any Judge of the Circuit or District Courts of the United States...and upon proof to the satisfaction of such Judge or magistrate...that the person so seized or arrested, doth, under the laws of the State or Territory from which he or she fled, owe service or labor to the person claiming him or her, it shall be the duty of such Judge or magistrate to give a certificate thereof to such claimant, his agent, or attorney, which shall be sufficient warrant for removing the said fugitive from labor to the State or Territory from which he or she fled.
It was a response to a conflict between Virginia and Pennsylvania over the kidnapping of John Davis. Governor Mifflin of Pennsylvania claimed Davis was free. This law got rid of the conflict and made it legal for fugitive slaves to be captured in the north and returned to their masters. It also made it illegal for northerners to help a runaway slave.

It was approved on February 12, 1793, and signed into law by President George Washington. It was later strengthened by the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, which required the return of slaves who fled their masters.
This primary source comes from the General Records of the United States Government.
National Archives Identifier: 124068301
Full Citation: An Act Respecting Escapees from Justice, and Persons Escaping from the Service of their Masters; 2/12/1793; Public Law, 2nd Congress, 2nd Session: Re Escapees from Justice and Masters, February 12, 1793; Enrolled Acts and Resolutions of Congress, 1789 - 2011; General Records of the United States Government, ; National Archives Building, Washington, DC. [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/fugitive-slave-act-1793, October 6, 2022]


An Act Respecting Escapees from Justice, and Persons Escaping from the Service of their Masters

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An Act Respecting Escapees from Justice, and Persons Escaping from the Service of their Masters

Page 2



Document

General Order No. 3, issued by Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger

6/19/1865

On June 19, 1865, two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln’s historic Emancipation Proclamation, U.S. Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger issued General Order No. 3, which informed the people of Texas that all enslaved people were now free. Granger commanded the Headquarters District of Texas, and his troops had arrived in Galveston the previous day.

This order represents the Federal Government’s final execution and fulfillment of the terms of the Emancipation Proclamation. The people to whom this order was addressed were the last group of Americans to be informed that all formerly enslaved persons were now free.

The effects of this order would later be celebrated as the "Juneteenth" holiday, a combination of June and nineteenth. It is also called Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, and it is the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.

Transcript

Headquarters District of Texas
Galveston Texas June 19th 1865

General Orders
No. 3

The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor.

The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.

By order of Major General Granger
F.W. EMERY
Major A.A.Genl

This primary source comes from the Records of U.S. Army Continental Commands.
National Archives Identifier: 182778372
Full Citation: General Order No. 3, issued by Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger; 6/19/1865; General Orders Issued; General Orders Issued, 6/1865 - 7/1865; Records of U.S. Army Continental Commands, ; National Archives Building, Washington, DC. [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/juneteenth-order, October 6, 2022]


General Order No. 3, issued by Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger

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General Order No. 3, issued by Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger

Page 2



General Order No. 3, issued by Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger

Page 3



Document

Bill of Sale for Slave Named George

1833

This primary source comes from the Records of District Courts of the United States.
National Archives Identifier: 656720
Full Citation: Bill of Sale for Slave Named George; 1833; Records of District Courts of the United States, . [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/bill-of-sale-for-slave-named-george, October 6, 2022]


Bill of Sale for Slave Named George

Page 1



Document

Anti-Slavery Petition from the Women of Philadelphia

1844

Sixty-five Philadelphia women signed and presented this petition to Congress in 1844, urging the abolition of slavery. At that time, women in the United States were unable to vote. To make their voices heard on important social issues of their day—slavery and drunkenness—women organized themselves and used petitions to influence Congress. Collectively, the signatures of approximately 3 million women abolitionists, including these petitioners from Pennsylvania, sent a powerful antislavery statement to Congress.

Transcript

To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States
The undersigned, women of Pennsylvania, respectively ask, that you will abolish every thing in the constitution or laws of the United States, which in any manner sanctions or sustains slavery.

[signatures]



28 th Cong
7 Sep

Petition of a number of women of Pennsylvania, praying the abolition of slavery in the United States

1844 March 21 Motion to receive, laid on the table.
This primary source comes from the Records of the U.S. Senate.
National Archives Identifier: 595408
Full Citation: Anti-Slavery Petition from the Women of Philadelphia; 1844; Petitions and Related Documents That Were Presented, Read, or Tabled, 1789 - 1966; Records of the U.S. Senate, ; National Archives Building, Washington, DC. [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/antislavery-petition-women-philadelphia, October 6, 2022]


Anti-Slavery Petition from the Women of Philadelphia

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Anti-Slavery Petition from the Women of Philadelphia

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Document

An Act of March 2, 1807, 9th Congress, 2nd Session, 2 STAT 426, to Prohibit the Importation of Slaves

3/2/1807

By the time of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, only Georgia still participated in the international slave trade, which had been abolished during the Revolution as part of the ban against trade with England. Nonetheless, Southern states were determined to protect the slave trade. A compromise, Article 1, Section 9 of the Constitution placed a possible time limit on the international trade, but did not end it. (It stated that Congress could not prohibit the "importation" of persons prior to 1808.)

Twenty years later, President Thomas Jefferson, who himself held deeply contradictory beliefs about the morality and legality of slavery, signed this act "to prohibit the importation of slaves in any port or place within the jurisdiction of the United States, from and after the first day of January [1808.]" Jefferson and Congress hoped to settle finally one aspect of the contentious issue of slavery by ending the international slave trade.

The Act imposed heavy penalties on international traders, but did not end slavery itself or the domestic sale of slaves. Not only did it drive trade underground, but ships caught illegally trading were often brought into the United States and its passengers sold into slavery.

Transcript

NINTH CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES;

At the Second Session,
Begun and held at the city of Washington, in the territory of Columbia, on Monday the first of December, one thousand eight hundred and six.
 
AN ACT to prohibit the importation of slaves, into any port or place within the jurisdiction of the United States, from and after the first day of January, in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and eight.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, that from and after the first day of January, one thousand eight hundred and eight, it shall not be lawful to import or bring into the United States, or the territories thereof, from any foreign kingdom, place or country, any negro, mulatto, or person of color, with intent to hold, sell, or dispose of such negro, mulatto, or person of color, as a slave, or to be held to service or labor.

Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, that no citizen or citizens of the United States, or any other person, shall, from and after the first day of January, in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and eight, for himself, or themselves, or any other person whatsoever, either as master, factor, or owner, build, fit, equip, load, or otherwise prepare, any ship or vessel,in any port or place within the jurisdiction of the United States, nor shall cause any ship or vessel to sail from any port or place within the same, for the purpose of procuring any negro, mulatto, or person of color, from any foreign kingdom, place or country, to be transported to any port or place whatsoever, within the jurisdiction of the United States, to be held, sold, or disposed of as slaves, or to be held to service or labor; and if any ship or vessel shall be so fitted out, for the purpose aforesaid, or shall be caused to sail so as aforesaid, every such ship or vessel her tackle, apparel, and furniture, shall be forfeited to the United States, and shall be liable to be seized, persecuted, and condemned, in any of the circuit courts, or district courts, for the district where the said ship or vessel may be found or seized.

Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, That all and every person so building, filling out, equipping, loading, or otherwise preparing or sending away, any ship or vessel, knowing or intending that the same shall be employed in such trade or business, from and after the first day of January, one thousand eight hundred and eight, contrary tot he true intent and meaning of this act, or any ways aiding or abetting therein, shall severally forfeit and pay twenty thousand dollars, one moiety thereof to the use of the United States, and the other moiety to the use of any person or persons who shall sue for, and prosecute the same to effect.

Sec. 4. And be it further enacted, If any citizen or citizens of the United States, or any person resident within the jurisdiction of the same, shall, from and after the first day of January, one thousand eight hundred and eight, take on board, receive, or transport from any of the coasts or kingdoms of Africa, or from any other foreign kingdom, place or country, any negro, mulatto, or person of color, in any ship or vessel, for the purpose of selling them, in any port or place within the jurisdiction of the United States, as slaves or to be held to service or labor, or shall be in any ways aiding or abetting therein, such citizen or citizens, or person shall severally forfeit and pay five thousand dollars, one moiety thereof to the use of any person or persons who shall sue for and prosecute the same to effect; and every such ship or vessel in which such negro, mulatto, or person of color shall have been taken on board, received or transported, as aforesaid, her tackle, apparel, and furniture, and the goods and effects which shall be found on board the same, shall be forfeited to the United States, and shall be liable to the seized, prosecuted, and condemned in any of the circuit courts, or district courts, in the district where the said ship or vessel may be found or seized.  And neither the importer, nor any person or persons claiming from or under him, shall hold any right, or title, whatsoever, to any negro, mulatto, or person of color, nor to the service or labor thereof, who may be imported or brought within the United States, or territories thereof, in violation of this law, but the same shall remain subject to any regulation, not contravening the provisions of this act, which the legislatures of the several states, or territories, at any time hereafter, may make for disposing of any such negro, mulatto, or person of color.

Sec. 5. And be it further enacted, That if any citizen or citizens of the United States, or any other person resident within the jurisdiction of the same, shall, from and after the first day of January, one thousand eight hundred and eight, contrary to the true intent and meaning of this act, take on board any ship or vessel, from any of the coasts or kingdoms of Africa, or from any other foreign kingdom, place or country, any negro, mulatto, or person of color, with intent to sell him, her, or them, for a slave or slaves, or to be held to services or labor, and shall transport the same to any port or place within the jurisdiction of the United States, and there sell such negro, mulatto, or person of color, so transported as aforesaid, for a slave, or to be held to a service or labor, every such offender, shall be deemed guilty of a high misdemeanor, and being thereof convicted before any court having competent jurisdiction, shall suffer imprisonment for not more than ten years, nor less than five years, and be fined not exceeding ten thousand dollars, nor less than one thousand dollars.

Sec. 6. And be it further enacted, that if any person or persons whatsoever, shall, from and after the first day of January, one thousand eight hundred and eight, purchase or sell any negro, mulatto, or person of color, for a slave or to be held to service or labor, who shall have been imported or brought from any foreign kingdom, place or country, or from the dominions of any foreign state immediately adjoining to the United States, into any port or place within the jurisdiction of the United States, after the last day of December, one thousand eight hundred and seven, knowing at the time of such purchase or sale, such negro, mulatto, or person of color, was so brought within the jurisdiction of the United States as aforesaid, such purchaser and seller shall severally forfeit and pay for every negro, mulatto, or person of color, so purchased or sold as aforesaid, eight hundred dollars; one moiety thereof to the United States, and the other moiety to the use of any person, or persons, who shall sue for and prosecute the same to effect.  Provided, that the aforesaid forfeiture shall not extend to the seller, or purchaser of any negro, mulatto, or person of color, who may be sold, or disposed of in virtue of any regulation which may hereafter be made by any of the legislatures of the several states, in that respect, in pursuant of this act, and the constitution of the United States.
This primary source comes from the General Records of the United States Government.
National Archives Identifier: 7873517
Full Citation: An Act of March 2, 1807, 9th Congress, 2nd Session, 2 STAT 426, to Prohibit the Importation of Slaves; 3/2/1807; Folder 9, Leaf 87, Public Law, 9th Cong., 2nd Sess.: An Act to Prohibit the Importation of Slaves into Any Port or Place Within the Jurisdiction of the U.S. From and After Jan. 1, 1808, March 2, 1807; Enrolled Acts and Resolutions of Congress, 1789 - 2011; General Records of the United States Government, ; National Archives Building, Washington, DC. [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/act-prohibit-importation-slaves, October 6, 2022]


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Document

Message of President Abraham Lincoln recommending a resolution to encourage the gradual emancipation of slaves

3/6/1862

President Abraham Lincoln sent this message to Congress recommending a resolution to encourage the gradual emancipation of slaves.

Transcript

Fellow citizens of the Senate
and House of Representatives:

I recommend the adoption of a Joint Resolution by your honorable bodies which shall be substantially as follows:

"Resolved that the United States ought to co-operate 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.

If the proposition contained in the resolution does not meet the approval of Congress and the country, there is the end; but if it does command such approval; I deem it of importance that the States and people immediately interested, should be at once distinctly notified of the fact, so that they may begin to consider, whether to accept or reject it. The federal government would find its highest interest in such a measure as one of the most efficient means of self-preservation. The leaders of the existing insurrection entertain the hope that this government will ultimately be forced to acknowledge the independence of some part of the disaffected region, and that all the slave states north of such part will then say, "the Union for which we have



struggled being already gone, we now choose to go with the southern section." To deprive them of this hope, substantially ends the rebellion; and the initiation of emancipation completely deprives them of it, as to all the states initiating it. The point is not that all the states tolerating slavery would very soon, if at all, initiate emancipation; but that, while the offer is equally made to all, the more northern shall, by such initiation, make it certain to the more southern, that in no event will the former ever join the latter in their proposed confederacy. I say "initiation" because in my judgment, gradual, and not sudden, emancipation is better for all. In the mere financial or pecuniary view, any member of Congress, with the census=tables, and Treasury-reports before him, can readily see for himself how very soon the current expenditures of this war, would purchase at fair valuation, all the slaves in any named State. Such a proposition on the part of the general government, sets up no claim of a right by federal authority to interfere with slavery within State limits, referring as it does, the absolute control of the subject in each case to the State and its people immediately interested. It is proposed as a matter of perfectly free



choice with them.

In the annual message last December I thought fit to say, "The Union must be preserved; and house all indispensable means must be employed. " I said this, not hastily, but deliberately. War has been made, and continues to be an indispensable means to this end: A practical re-acknowledgement of the national authority would render the war unneccessary, and it would once cease. If, however, resistance continues, the war must also continue; and it is impossible to foresee all the incidents which may attend, and all the ruin which may follow it. Such as may seem indispensable or may obviously promise great efficiency towards ending the struggle must and will come.

The proposition now made, though an offer only. I hope it may be esteemed no offence to ask whether the pecuniary consideration tendered would not be of more value to the States and private persons concerned, than are the institution, and properly in it, in the present aspect of affairs.

While it is true that the adoption of the proposed resolution would be merely initiatory, and not within itself a practical measure, it is recommended in



the hope that it would soon lead to important practical results. In full view of my great responsibility to my God and to my country, I earnestly beg the attention of Congress and the people to the subject.

March 6, 1862
Abraham Lincoln
This primary source comes from the Records of the U.S. Senate.
National Archives Identifier: 306438
Full Citation: Message of President Abraham Lincoln recommending a resolution to encourage the gradual emancipation of slaves; 3/6/1862; Presidential Messages to the Senate in the 37th Congress Suggesting Legislation; Presidential Messages, 1789 - 1875; Records of the U.S. Senate, ; National Archives Building, Washington, DC. [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/lincoln-gradual-emancipation, October 6, 2022]


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Document

Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854

1854

Officially titled "An Act to Organize the Territories of Nebraska and Kansas," this act repealed the Missouri Compromise, which had outlawed slavery above the 36º30' latitude in the Louisiana territories, and reopened the national struggle over slavery in the western territories.

In 1820, Congress passed the Missouri Compromise, which admitted Missouri into the nation as a "slave state" and Maine as a "free state." The Compromise established the latitude 36º30' N. as the dividing line for "slave" and "free" states.

The Kansas-Nebraska Act overturned the Compromise. In January 1854, Senator Stephen Douglas of Illiniois introduced a bill that divided the land immediately west of Missouri into two territories, Kansas and Nebraska. He argued in favor of popular sovereignty, or the idea that the settlers of the new territories should decide if slavery would be legal there. Anti-slavery supporters were outraged because, under the terms of the Missouri Compromise of 1820, slavery would have been outlawed in both territories since they were both north of the 36º30' N dividing line between "slave" and "free" states.

After months of debate, the Kansas-Nebraska Act passed on May 30, 1854. Almost immediately, pro-slavery and anti-slavery settlers rushed to Kansas, each side hoping to determine the results of the first election held after the law went into effect. The conflict turned violent, earning the ominous nickname "Bleeding Kansas." The act aggravated the split between North and South on the issue of slavery until reconciliation seemed virtually impossible.

Opponents of the Kansas-Nebraska Act helped found the Republican Party, which opposed the spread of slavery into the territories. As a result of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, the United States moved closer to Civil War.

Transcript

An Act to Organize the Territories of Nebraska and Kansas.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That all that part of the territory of the United States included within the following limits, except such portions thereof as are hereinafter expressly exempted from the operations of this act, to wit: beginning at a point in the Missouri River where the fortieth parallel of north latitude crosses the same; then west on said parallel to the east boundary of the Territory of Utah, the summit of the Rocky Mountains; thence on said summit northwest to the forty-ninth parallel of north latitude; thence east on said parallel to the western boundary of the territory of Minnesota; thence southward on said boundary to the Missouri River; thence down the main channel of said river to the place of beginning, be, and the same is hereby, created into a temporary government by the name of the Territory Nebraska; and when admitted as a State or States, the said Territory or any portion of the same, shall be received into the Union with without slavery, as their constitution may prescribe at the time of the admission: Provided, That nothing in this act contained shall be construed to inhibit the government of the United States from dividing said Territory into two or more Territories, in such manner and at such tin as Congress shall deem convenient and proper, or from attaching a portion of said Territory to any other State or Territory of the United States: Provided further, That nothing in this act contained shall construed to impair the rights of person or property now pertaining
[pages omitted]

may be enacted during the present Congress, are required to give security for moneys that may be intrusted with them for disbursement, shall give such security, at such time and place, and in such manner as the Secretary of the Treasury may prescribe.

SEC. 37. And be it further enacted, That all treaties, laws, and other, engagements made by the government of the United States with the Indian tribes inhabiting the territories embraced within this act, shall be faithfully and rigidly observed, notwithstanding any thing contained in this act; and that the existing agencies and superintendencies of said Indians be continued with the same powers and duties which are now prescribed by law, except that the President of the United States may, at his discretion, change the location of the office of superintendent.

Approved, May 30, 1854.
This primary source comes from the General Records of the United States Government.
National Archives Identifier: 1501722
Full Citation: Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854; 1854; Enrolled Acts and Resolutions of Congress, 1789 - 2011; General Records of the United States Government, ; National Archives Building, Washington, DC. [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/kansas-nebraska-act-1854, October 6, 2022]


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Document

Petition of Absalom Jones and Others — People of Color and Freemen of Philadelphia — Against the Slave Trade to the Coast of Guinea

12/30/1799

Petitioning to end slavery was ongoing since the nation's founding. The First Amendment to the Constitution guarantees the right ''to petition the government for a redress of grievances.'' On December 30, 1799, the Reverend Absalom Jones and other free blacks of Philadelphia sent this petition to Congress.

The petition complains that the new fugitive slave law was resulting in the apprehension of freemen. They wrote that the Southerners’ practice of kidnapping free African Americans and transporting them to Southern states in order to sell them violated the “solemn Compact” of the Constitution.

The petition also expresses hope for the elimination of slavery, stating: "We do not ask for the immediate emancipation of all...yet humbly desire you may exert every means in your power to undo the heavy burdens, and prepare the way for the oppressed to go free..."

The petition caused controversy when it was presented to Congress. Because of the section calling for the end of slavery, only those parts that related to U.S. laws regarding either fugitive slaves or the slave trade from the United States to foreign places were referred to the committee. By a vote of 85 to 1, the resolution of referral was amended (see the note on the back) to state that "such part of the said petition, which invite Congress to legislate upon subjects from which the general government is precluded by the Constitution have a tendency to create disquiet and jealousy, and ought therefore to receive no encouragement or countenance from this House."

Transcript

To the President, Senate, and House of Representatives of the United States –

The petition of the People of Colour, Freemen, within the City and Suburbs of Philadelphia.--

Humbly sheweth

That thankful to God our Creator and to the Government under which we live, for the blessing and benefit extended to us in the enjoyment of our natural right to Liberty, and the protection of our Persons and property from the oppression and violence, to which so great a number of like colour and National Descent are subjected; We feel ourselves bound from a sense of these blessings to continue in our respective allotments, and to lead honest and peaceable lives, rendering due submission to the Laws, and exciting and encouraging each other thereto, agreeable to the uniform advice of our real friends of every denominations. – Yet, while feel impress’d with grateful sensations for the Providential favours we ourselves enjoy, We cannot be insensible of the condition of our afflicted Brethren, suffering under various circumstances in different parts of these States; but deeply sympathizing with them, We are incited by a sense of Social duty and humbly conceive ourselves authorized to address and petition you in their behalf, believing them to be objects of representation in your public Councils, in common with ourselves and every other class of Citizens within the Jurisdiction of the United States, according to the declared design of the present Constitution, formed by the General Convention and ratified by the different States, as set forth in the preamble thereto, in the following words – vis – “We the People of the United States “in order to form a more perfect union, establish Justice, insure domestick “tranquility, provide for the Common Defence, and to secure the blessings of “Liberty to ourselves and posterity, do ordain &c.” – We apprehend this solemn Compact is violated by a trade carried on in a clandestine manner to the Coast of Guinea, and another equally wicked practiced openly by Citizens of some of the Southern States upon the waters of Maryland and Delaware: Men sufficiently callous as to qualify for the brutal purpose, are employed in kidnapping those of our Brethren that are free, and purchasing others of such as claim a property in them; thus these poor helpless victims like droves of Cattle are seized, fettered, and hurried into places provided for this most horrid traffic, such as dark cellars and garrets, as is notorious at Northwest Fork[?] Chester-town, Eastown, and divers other places; -- After a sufficient number is obtained, they are forced on board vessels, crowded under hatches, and without the least commiseration, left to deplore the sad separation of the dearest ties in nature, husband from wife and Parents from children, thus pack’d together they are transported to Georgia and other places, and there inhumanely exposed to sale: Can any Commerce, trade, or transaction, so detestably shock the feelings of Man, or degrade the dignity of his nature equal to this, and how increasingly is the evil aggravated when practised in a Land, high in profession of the benign doctrines of our blessed Lord, who taught his followers to do unto others as they would they should do unto them! –
Your petitioners desire not to enlarge, the Volumes might be filled with the sufferings of the grossly abused class of the human species, (700.000 of whom it is said are now in unconditional bondage in these States,) but, conscious of the rectitude of our motives in a concern so nearly affecting us, and so essentially interesting to real welfare of this Country, we cannot but address you as Guardians of our Civil rights, and Patrons of equal and National Liberty, hoping you will view the subject in an impartial, unprejudiced light. – We do not ask for the immediate emancipation of all, knowing that the degraded State of many and their want of education, would greatly disqualify for such a change; yet humbly desire you may exert every means in your power to undo the heavy burdens, and prepare the way for the oppressed to go free, that every yoke may be broken. The Law not long since enacted by Congress called the Fugitive Bill, is, in its execution found to be attended with circumstances peculiarly hard and distressing, for many of our afflicted Brethren in order to avoid the barbarities wantonly exercised upon them, or thro fear of being carried off by those Men-stealers, have been forced to seek refuge by flight; they are then hunted by armed Men, and under colour of this law, cruelly treated, shot, or brought back in chains to those who have no just claim upon them. In the Constitution, and the Fugitive bill, no mention is made of Black people or Slaves – therefore if the Bill of Rights, or the declaration of Congress are of any validity, we beseech that as we are men, we may be admitted to partake of the Liberties and unalienable Rights therein held forth – firmly believing that the extending of Justice and equity to all Classes, would be a means of drawing down, the blessings of Heaven upon this Land, for the Peace and Prosperity of which, and the real happiness of every member of the Community, we fervently pray –



Philadelphia 30th of December 1799

[Signatures]



[Reverse of signature page] 

Petition of Absalom Jones and others.

2nd January 1800

A motion was made to refer such parts of the petition as relates to laws of the United States respecting the slave trade from the United States to any foreign place or country – and the laws respecting fugitives from justice and persons escaping from the service of their masters, to the Committee appointed on the 12th day of December last, to take into consideration the laws of[?] the United States, relating to the Slave Trade.

3rd[?] January, 1799

Motion of yesterday agreed to, with the following amendment. “And that such parts of the said petition, which invite Congress to legislate upon subjects from which the general government is precluded by the Constitution have a tendency[?] to create disquiet and jealousy, and ought therefore to receive no encouragement or countenance from this House.
This primary source comes from the Records of the U.S. House of Representatives.
National Archives Identifier: 7594794
Full Citation: Petition of Absalom Jones and Others — People of Color and Freemen of Philadelphia — Against the Slave Trade to the Coast of Guinea; 12/30/1799; (HR 6A-F4.2); Records of the U.S. House of Representatives, ; National Archives Building, Washington, DC. [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/petition-against-the-slave-trade, October 6, 2022]


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Document

Emancipation Proclamation

1/1/1863

President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, announcing, "that all persons held as slaves" within the rebellious areas "are, and henceforward shall be free."

Initially, the Civil War between North and South was fought by the North to prevent the secession of the Southern states and preserve the Union. Even though sectional conflicts over slavery had been a major cause of the war, ending slavery was not a goal of the war. That changed on September 22, 1862, when President Lincoln issued his Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, which stated that enslaved people in those states or parts of states still in rebellion as of January 1, 1863, would be declared free. One hundred days later, with the rebellion unabated, President issued the Emancipation Proclamation declaring "that all persons held as slaves" within the rebellious areas "are, and henceforward shall be free."

Lincoln’s bold step to change the goals of the war was a military measure and came just a few days after the Union’s victory in the Battle of Antietam. With this Proclamation he hoped to inspire all Black people, and enslaved people in the Confederacy in particular, to support the Union cause and to keep England and France from giving political recognition and military aid to the Confederacy.

Because it was a military measure, however, the Emancipation Proclamation was limited in many ways. It applied only to states that had seceded from the Union, leaving slavery untouched in the loyal border states. It also expressly exempted parts of the Confederacy that had already come under Union control. Most important, the freedom it promised depended upon Union military victory.

Although the Emancipation Proclamation did not end slavery in the nation, it did fundamentally transform the character of the war. After January 1, 1863, every advance of Federal troops expanded the domain of freedom. Moreover, the Proclamation announced the acceptance of Black men into the Union Army and Navy, enabling the liberated to become liberators. By the end of the war, almost 200,000 Black soldiers and sailors had fought for the Union and freedom.

From the first days of the Civil War, enslaved people had acted to secure their own liberty. The Emancipation Proclamation confirmed their insistence that the war for the Union must become a war for freedom. It added moral force to the Union cause and strengthened the Union both militarily and politically. As a milestone along the road to slavery's final destruction, the Emancipation Proclamation has assumed a place among the great documents of human freedom.

Transcript

By the President of the United States of America:

A Proclamation.

Whereas, on the twenty-second day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, a proclamation was issued by the President of the United States, containing, among other things, the following, to wit:

"That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.

"That the Executive will, on the first day of January aforesaid, by proclamation, designate the States and parts of States, if any, in which the people thereof, respectively, shall then be in rebellion against the United States; and the fact that any State, or the people thereof, shall on that day be, in good faith, represented in the Congress of the United States by members chosen thereto at elections wherein a majority of the qualified voters of such State shall have participated, shall, in the absence of strong countervailing testimony, be deemed conclusive evidence that such State, and the people thereof, are not then in rebellion against the United States."

Now, therefore I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, by virtue of the power in me vested as Commander-in-Chief, of the Army and Navy of the United States in time of actual armed rebellion against the authority and government of the United States, and as a fit and necessary war measure for suppressing said rebellion, do, on this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and in accordance with my purpose so to do publicly proclaimed for the full period of one hundred days, from the day first above mentioned, order and designate as the States and parts of States wherein the people thereof respectively, are this day in rebellion against the United States, the following, to wit:

Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, (except the Parishes of St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. James Ascension, Assumption, Terrebonne, Lafourche, St. Mary, St. Martin, and Orleans, including the City of New Orleans) Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia, (except the forty-eight counties designated as West Virginia, and also the counties of Berkley, Accomac, Northampton, Elizabeth City, York, Princess Ann, and Norfolk, including the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth[)], and which excepted parts, are for the present, left precisely as if this proclamation were not issued.

And by virtue of the power, and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be free; and that the Executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons.

And I hereby enjoin upon the people so declared to be free to abstain from all violence, unless in necessary self-defence; and I recommend to them that, in all cases when allowed, they labor faithfully for reasonable wages.

And I further declare and make known, that such persons of suitable condition, will be received into the armed service of the United States to garrison forts, positions, stations, and other places, and to man vessels of all sorts in said service.

And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution, upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind, and the gracious favor of Almighty God.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the eighty-seventh.

By the President: ABRAHAM LINCOLN
WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.
This primary source comes from the General Records of the United States Government.
National Archives Identifier: 299998
Full Citation: Emancipation Proclamation; 1/1/1863; Presidential Proclamations, 1791 - 2011; General Records of the United States Government, ; National Archives Building, Washington, DC. [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/emancipation-proclamation, October 6, 2022]


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Petition from Citizens of New York Asking that Slavery and the Slave-trade may be Expressly Prohibited by Act of Congress in all the Territories of the United States

3/25/1851


Additional details from our exhibits and publications

Starting in the 1830s a small but growing movement advocated the abolition of slavery in the United States. After 1850 abolition’s appeal spread to those who feared slavery’s expansion into the territories. Abolitionists collected hundreds of thousands of signatures on petitions to Congress, like this one from citizens of New York. As abolitionist agitation increased, Southern whites became increasingly outspoken in their defense of slavery.
This primary source comes from the Records of the U.S. House of Representatives.
National Archives Identifier: 4534642
Full Citation: Petition from Citizens of New York Asking that Slavery and the Slave-trade may be Expressly Prohibited by Act of Congress in all the Territories of the United States; 3/25/1851; Records of the U.S. House of Representatives, . [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/petition-from-citizens-of-new-york-asking-that-slavery-and-the-slavetrade-may-be-expressly-prohibited-by-act-of-congress-in-all-the-territories-of-the-united-states, October 6, 2022]


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Resolution introduced by Senator Henry Clay in relation to the adjustment of all existing questions of controversy between the states arising out of the institution of slavery (the resolution later became known as the Compromise of 1850)

1/29/1850

Senator Henry Clay introduced this resolution, now called the Compromise of 1850, to address issues over slavery. The Compromise was actually a series of bills, mainly related to slavery. They provided for slavery to be decided by popular sovereignty in the admission of new states, prohibited the slave trade in the District of Columbia, settled a Texas boundary dispute, and established a stricter fugitive slave act.

By 1850 sectional disagreements related to slavery were straining the bonds of union between the North and South. These tensions became especially critical when Congress began to consider whether western lands acquired after the Mexican-American War would permit slavery. In 1849, California requested permission to enter the Union as a "free state" – meaning one where slavery was banned. Adding more "free state" senators to Congress would destroy the balance between "slave" and "free" states that had existed since the Missouri Compromise of 1820.

Because everyone looked to the Senate to defuse the growing crisis, Senator Henry Clay of Kentucky proposed a series of resolutions designed to "adjust amicably all existing questions of controversy...arising out of the institution of slavery." Clay attempted to frame his compromise so that nationally minded senators would vote for legislation in the interest of the Union.

In one of the most famous congressional debates in American history, the Senate discussed Clay’s solution for seven months. It initially voted down his legislative package, but Senator Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois stepped forward with substitute bills, which passed both Houses. With the Compromise of 1850, Congress had addressed the immediate crisis created by the recent territorial expansion.

But one aspect of the compromise – a strengthened fugitive slave act – soon began to threaten sectional peace. Though a fugitive slave clause was included in the Constitution and supported by legislation since the founding of the nation, the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 added several new regulations. For example, both federal and local law enforcement in all states (both "slave" and "free") were required to enforce the legislation and arrest suspected fugitive slaves. In addition, anyone aiding an enslaved person escape from bondage was subject to imprisonment and a fine. The enforcement of these strict requirements angered many in the North.

The Compromise of 1850 is composed of five statutes enacted in September of 1850. The acts called for the admission of California as a "free state," provided for a territorial government for Utah and New Mexico, established a boundary between Texas and the United States, called for the abolition of slave trade in Washington, DC, and amended the Fugitive Slave Act.

Transcript

In the Senate of the United States

January 29, 1850
Read, ordered that the futher consideration therof be postponed to and made the special order of the day for Tuesday next and that they be printed.

Mr. Clay submitted for consideration the following

Resolutions:

It being desirable, for the peace, concord, and harmony of the Union of these States, to settle and adjust amicably all existing questions of controversy between them aris- ing out of the institution of slavery upon a fair, equitable and just basis: therefore,

1. Resolved, That California, with suitable boundaries, ought, upon her application to be admitted as one of the States of this Union, without the imposition by Congress of any restriction in respect to the exclusion or in- troduction of slavery within those bound- aries.

2. Resolved, That as slavery does not exist by law, and is not likely to be introduced into any of the territory acquired by the United States from the republic of Mexico, it is in- expedient for Congress to provide by law either for its introduction into, or exclusion from, any part of the said territory; and that appropriate territorial governments ought to be established by Congress in all of the said territory , not assigned as the boundaries of the proposed State of California, without the adoption of any restriction or condition on the subject of slavery.

3. Resolved, That the western boundary of the State of Texas ought to be fixed on the Rio del Norte, ommencing one marine league from its mouth, and running up that river to the southern line of New Mexico; thence with that line eastwardly, and so continuing in the same direction to the line as established between the United States and Spain, exclud- ing any portion of New Mexico, whether lying on the east or west of that river.

4. Resolved, That it be proposed to the State of Texas, that the United States will provide for the payment of all that portion of the legitimate and bona fide public debt of that State contracted prior to its annexation to the United States, and for which the duties on foreign imports were pledged by the said State to its creditors, not exceeding the sum of- dollars, in consideration of the said duties so pledged having been no longer ap- plicable to that object after the said annexa- tion, but having thenceforward become pay- able to the United States; and upon the condition, also, that the said State of Texas shall, by some solemn and authentic act of her legislature or of a convention, relinquish to the United States any claim which it has to any part of New Mexico.

5. Resolved, That it is inexpedient to abol- ish slavery in the District of Columbia whilst that institution continues to exist in the State of
Maryland, without the consent of that State, without the consent of the people of the District, and without just compensation to the owners of slaves within the District.

6. But, resolved, That it is expedient to prohibit, within the District, the slave trade in slaves brought into it from States or places beyond the limits of the District, either to be sold therein as merchandise, or to be trans- ported to other markets without the District of Columbia.

7. Resolved, That more effectual provision ought to be made by law, according to the
requirement of the constitution, for the restitution and delivery of persons bound to serv- ice or labor in any State, who may escape into any other State or Territory in the Union. And,

8. Resolved, That Congress has no power to promote or obstruct the trade in slaves be- tween the slaveholding States; but that the admission or exclusion of slaves brought from one into another of them, depends exclusively upon their own particular laws.
This primary source comes from the Records of the U.S. Senate.
National Archives Identifier: 306270
Full Citation: Resolution introduced by Senator Henry Clay in relation to the adjustment of all existing questions of controversy between the states arising out of the institution of slavery (the resolution later became known as the Compromise of 1850); 1/29/1850; Senate Simple Resolutions, Motions, and Orders of the 31st Congress; Bills and Resolutions Originating in the Senate, 1789 - 2002; Records of the U.S. Senate, ; National Archives Building, Washington, DC. [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/compromise-1850, October 6, 2022]


Resolution introduced by Senator Henry Clay in relation to the adjustment of all existing questions of controversy between the states arising out of the institution of slavery (the resolution later became known as the Compromise of 1850)

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Resolution introduced by Senator Henry Clay in relation to the adjustment of all existing questions of controversy between the states arising out of the institution of slavery (the resolution later became known as the Compromise of 1850)

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Resolution introduced by Senator Henry Clay in relation to the adjustment of all existing questions of controversy between the states arising out of the institution of slavery (the resolution later became known as the Compromise of 1850)

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Resolution introduced by Senator Henry Clay in relation to the adjustment of all existing questions of controversy between the states arising out of the institution of slavery (the resolution later became known as the Compromise of 1850)

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Resolution introduced by Senator Henry Clay in relation to the adjustment of all existing questions of controversy between the states arising out of the institution of slavery (the resolution later became known as the Compromise of 1850)

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Resolution introduced by Senator Henry Clay in relation to the adjustment of all existing questions of controversy between the states arising out of the institution of slavery (the resolution later became known as the Compromise of 1850)

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Resolution introduced by Senator Henry Clay in relation to the adjustment of all existing questions of controversy between the states arising out of the institution of slavery (the resolution later became known as the Compromise of 1850)

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Document

Presidential Proclamation 90 by President Abraham Lincoln Revoking General David Hunter's Order of Military Emancipation

5/19/1862


Additional details from our exhibits and publications

On May 9, 1862, Gen. David Hunter declared all slaves in Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida “forever free” and authorized them to serve in the U.S. Army. President Lincoln believed only he could give such an order. Twelve days later he issued this proclamation revoking Hunter’s edict. He scolded the general for exceeding his authority but warned slaveholders that such an order might “become a necessity indispensable to the maintenance of the government.”
This primary source comes from the General Records of the United States Government.
National Archives Identifier: 4656009
Full Citation: Presidential Proclamation 90 by President Abraham Lincoln Revoking General David Hunter's Order of Military Emancipation; 5/19/1862; General Records of the United States Government, . [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/presidential-proclamation-90-by-president-abraham-lincoln-revoking-general-david-hunters-order-of-military-emancipation, October 6, 2022]


Presidential Proclamation 90 by President Abraham Lincoln Revoking General David Hunter's Order of Military Emancipation

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Presidential Proclamation 90 by President Abraham Lincoln Revoking General David Hunter's Order of Military Emancipation

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Presidential Proclamation 90 by President Abraham Lincoln Revoking General David Hunter's Order of Military Emancipation

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Presidential Proclamation 90 by President Abraham Lincoln Revoking General David Hunter's Order of Military Emancipation

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Presidential Proclamation 90 by President Abraham Lincoln Revoking General David Hunter's Order of Military Emancipation

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Document

Judgment in the U.S. Supreme Court Case Dred Scott v. John F. A. Sandford

3/6/1857

In this ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court stated that enslaved people were not citizens of the United States and, therefore, could not expect any protection from the federal government or the courts. The opinion also stated that Congress had no authority to ban slavery from a federal territory.

In 1846, an enslaved Black man named Dred Scott and his wife, Harriet, had sued for their freedom in St. Louis Circuit Court. They claimed that they were free due to their residence in a free territory where slavery was prohibited.

The odds were in their favor. They had lived with their enslaver, an army surgeon, at Fort Snelling, then in the free Territory of Wisconsin. The Scotts' freedom could be established on the grounds that they had been held in bondage for extended periods in a free territory and were then returned to a slave state. Courts had ruled this way in the past.

However, what appeared to be a straightforward lawsuit between two private parties became an 11-year legal struggle that culminated in one of the most notorious decisions ever issued by the Supreme Court. Scott lost his case, which worked its way through the Missouri state courts; he then filed a new federal suit which ultimately reached the Supreme Court.

On its way to the Supreme Court, the Dred Scott case grew in scope and significance as slavery became the single most explosive issue in American politics. By the time the case reached the high Court, it had come to have enormous political implications for the entire nation. Slavery had become the single most explosive issue in American politics.

On March 6, 1857, Chief Justice Roger B. Taney read the majority opinion, which stated that enslaved people were not citizens of the United States and, therefore, could not expect any protection from the federal government or the courts. The opinion also stated that Congress had no authority to ban slavery from a federal territory. This decision moved the nation a step closer to the Civil War.

The decision in Scott v. Sandford, considered by many legal scholars to be the worst ever rendered by the Supreme Court, was overturned by the 13th and 14th amendments to the Constitution, which abolished slavery and declared all persons born in the United States to be citizens of the United States.

Transcript

Missouri - C. C. U. S.
No. 7.

Dred Scott, Plff in Er
vs.
John F. A. Sandford

Filed 30th December 1854.

Dismissed for want of jurisdiction.
March 6th 1857



No. 7.
Dred Scott - Plff in Er
vs
John F. A. Sandford

In error to the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of Missouri.

This cause came on to be heard on the transcript of the record from the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of Missouri and was argued by counsel - on consideration whereof, it is now here ordered and adjudged by this court that the judgment of the said Circuit Court in this cause be and the same is hereby reversed for the want of jurisdiction in that court, and that this cause be and the same is hereby remanded to the said Circuit Court with directions to dismiss the case for the want of jurisdiction in that court.

Js. W. Ch. Mr. Taney
6th March 1857
This primary source comes from the Records of the Supreme Court of the United States.
National Archives Identifier: 301673
Full Citation: Judgment in the U.S. Supreme Court Case Dred Scott v. John F. A. Sandford; 3/6/1857; Dred Scott, Plaintiff in Error, v. John F. A. Sandford; Appellate Jurisdiction Case Files, 1792 - 2010; Records of the Supreme Court of the United States, ; National Archives Building, Washington, DC. [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/dred-scott-judgment, October 6, 2022]


Judgment in the U.S. Supreme Court Case Dred Scott v. John F. A. Sandford

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Judgment in the U.S. Supreme Court Case Dred Scott v. John F. A. Sandford

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Document

An Act of April 16, 1862 [For the Release of Certain Persons Held to Service or Labor in the District of Columbia],

4/16/1862

On April 16, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed this bill ending slavery in the District of Columbia. Passage of this act came 8 1/2 months before President Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation. The act brought to a conclusion decades of agitation aimed at ending what antislavery advocates called "the national shame" of slavery in the nation's capital.

The law provided for immediate emancipation, compensation to loyal Unionist masters of up to $300 for each freed slave, voluntary colonization of former slaves to colonies outside the United States, and payments of up to $100 to each person choosing emigration. Over the next nine months the Federal Government granted almost $1 million for the freedom of approximately 3,100 formerly enslaved people.

The District of Columbia Emancipation Act is the only example of compensated emancipation in the United States. Though its three-way approach of immediate emancipation, compensation, and colonization did not serve as a model for the future, it was an early signal of slavery's death.

African Americans in the District greeted emancipation with great jubilation. For many years afterward, Black Washingtonians celebrated Emancipation Day on April 16 with parades and festivals.

Transcript

Rec-­16­-Ap. Public 50

Thirty=Seventh=Congress of the United States of America;

At the second Session,

Begun and held at the city of Washington, on Monday, the second day of
December, one thousand eight hundred and sixty­one
___________________
AN ACT

For the release of certain persons held to service or labor in the District of
Columbia.
__________________
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States
of America in Congress assembled,

That all persons held to service or labor within the District of Columbia by reason
of African descent are hereby discharged and freed of and from all claim to such
service or labor; and from and after the passage of this act neither slavery nor
involuntary servitude, except for crime, whereof the party shall be duly convicted,
shall hereafter exist in said District. Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That all
persons loyal to the United States holding claims to service or labor against
persons discharged therefrom by this act may, within ninety days from the passage
thereof, but not thereafter, present to the Commissioners hereinafter mentioned
their respective statements or petitions in writing, verified by oath or affirmation,
setting forth the names, ages, and personal description of such persons, the manner
in which said petitioners acquired such claim, and any facts touching the value
thereof, and declaring his allegiance to the government of the United States; and
that he has not borne arms against the United States during the present rebellion,
nor in any way given aid or comfort thereto: Provided that the oath of the party to
the petition shall not be evidence of the facts therein stated. Sec. 3. And be it
further enacted, That the President of the United States, with the advice and
consent of the Senate, shall appoint three commissioners, residents of the District
of Columbia, any two of whom shall have power to act, who shall receive the
petitions above mentioned, and who shall investigate and determine the validity

and value of the claims therein presented, as aforesaid, and appraise and apportion,
under the proviso hereto annexed, the value in money of the several claims by
them found to be valid: Provided, however, That the entire sum so appraised and
apportioned shall not exceed in the aggregate an amount equal to three hundred
dollars for each person shown to have been so held by lawful claim:

[page 2]

And provided, further, That no claim shall be allowed for any slave or slaves
brought into said District after the passage of this act, nor for any slave claimed by
any person who has borne arms against the government of the United States in the
present rebellion or in any way given aid or comfort thereto; or which originates in
or by virtue of any transfer heretofore made, or which shall hereafter be made, by
any person who has in any manner aided or sustained the rebellion against the
government of the United States. Sec. 4. And be it further enacted, That said
commissioners shall within nine months from the passage of this act, make a full
and final report of their proceedings, findings and appraisement, and shall deliver
the same to the Secretary of the Treasury which report shall be deemed and taken
to be conclusive in all respects, except as hereinafter provided; and the Secretary of
the Treasury shall with little exception, cause the amounts so apportioned to said
claims to be paid from the treasury of the United States to the parties found by said
report to be entitled thereto as aforesaid, and the same shall be received in full and
complete compensation: Provided, That in cases where petitions may be filed
presenting conflicting claims or setting up liens, said commissioners shall so
specify in said report, and payment shall not be made according to the award of
said commissioners until a period of sixty days shall have elapsed, during which
time any petitioner claiming an interest in the particular amount a file a bill in
equity in the circuit court of the District of Columbia, making all other claim unto
defendants thereto, setting forth the proceedings in such case before said
commissioners and their action therein, and praying that the party to whom
payment has been awarded may be enjoined from receiving the same; and if said
court shall grant such provisional order, a copy thereof may, on motion of said
complainant, be served upon the Secretary of the Treasury, who shall thereupon
cause the said amount of money to be paid into said court, subject to its orders and
final decree, which payment shall be in full and complete compensation, as in other
cases. Sec. 5. And be it further enacted, That said commissioners shall hold their
sessions in the City of Washington, at such place and times as the President of the
United States may direct, of which they shall give due and public notice. They
shall have power to

[page 3]

subpoena and compel the attendance of witnesses, and to receive testimony and
enforce its production as in civil cases before courts of justice, without the
exclusion of any witness on account of color; and they may summon before them
the persons making claim to service or labor and examine them under oath; and
they may also, for purposes of identification and appraisement, call before them
the persons so claimed. Said commissioners shall appoint a clerk, who shall keep
files and complete record of all proceedings before them, who shall have power to
administer oaths and affirmations in said proceedings, and who shall issue all
lawful process by them ordered. The marshal of the District of Columbia shall
personally or by deputy attend upon the sessions of said commissioners, and shall
execute the process issued by said clerk. Sec. 6. And be it further enacted, That
said commissioners shall receive in compensation for their services the sum of two
thousand dollars each to be paid upon the filing of their report, that said clerk shall
receive for his services the sum of two hundred dollars per month; that said
marshal shall receive such fees as are allowed by law for similar services
performed by him in the circuit court of the District of Columbia; that the
Secretary of the Treasury shall cause all other reasonable expenses of said
commission to be audited and allowed and that said compensation, fees, and
expenses shall be paid from the treasury of the United States. Sec. 7. And be it
further enacted, That for the purpose of carrying this act into effect there is hereby
appropriated out of any money in the treasury not otherwise appropriated, a sum
not exceeding one million of dollars. Sec. 8. And be it further enacted, That any
person or persons who shall kidnap, or in any manner transport or procure to be
taken out of said District, any person or persons discharged and freed by the
provisions of this act, or any free person or persons with intent to re­enslave or sell
such person or persons into slavery, or shall re­enslave any said freed persons, the
person or persons so offending shall be deemed guilty of a felony, and on
conviction thereof in any court of competent

[page 4]

jurisdiction in said District shall be imprisoned in the penitentiary not less than five
nor more than twenty years. Sec. 9. And be it further enacted, That within twenty
days, or within such further time as the commissioners herein provided for shall
limit, after the passage of this act, a statement in writing or schedule shall be filed
with the clerk of the circuit court for the District of Columbia by the several
owners or claimants to the services of the persons made free or manumitted by this
act, setting forth the names, ages, sex and particular description of such persons
severally; and the said clerk shall receive and record in a book by him to be
provided and kept for that purpose, the said statements or schedules on receiving
fifty cents each therefor and no claim shall be allowed to any claimant or owner
who shall neglect this requirement. Sec. 10. And be it further enacted, That the
said clerk and his successors in office shall from time to time on demand and on
receiving twenty­five cents therefor prepare, sign and deliver to each person made
free or manumitted by this act a certificate under the seal of said court, setting out
the name, age, and description of such person and stating that such person was
duly manumitted and set free by this act. Sec. 11. And be it further enacted, That
the sum of one hundred thousand dollars out of any money in the treasury not
otherwise appropriated is hereby appropriated to be expended under the direction
of the President of the United States, to aid in the colonization and settlement of
such free persons of African descent now residing in said District including those
to be liberated by this act as may desire to emigrate to the Republic of Hayti or
Liberia, or such other country beyond the limits of the United States as the
President may determine: Provided, The expenditure for this purpose shall not
exceed one hundred dollars for each emigrant. Sec. 12. And be it further enacted,
That

[page 5]

all acts of Congress and all laws of the State of Maryland in force in said District,
and all ordinances of the cities of Washington and Georgetown, inconsistent with
the provisions of this act are hereby repealed.

Galusha A. Grow
Speaker of the House of Representatives

Solomon Foot
President of the Senate pro tempore

Approved, April 16, 1862

Abraham Lincoln

[page 6]

I certify that this act did originate in the Senate.
J. W. Forney
Secretary.
This primary source comes from the General Records of the United States Government.
National Archives Identifier: 299814
Full Citation: An Act of April 16, 1862 [For the Release of Certain Persons Held to Service or Labor in the District of Columbia],; 4/16/1862; Enrolled Acts and Resolutions of Congress, 1789 - 2013; General Records of the United States Government, ; National Archives Building, Washington, DC. [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/dc-emancipation, October 6, 2022]


An Act of April 16, 1862 [For the Release of Certain Persons Held to Service or Labor in the District of Columbia],

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An Act of April 16, 1862 [For the Release of Certain Persons Held to Service or Labor in the District of Columbia],

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An Act of April 16, 1862 [For the Release of Certain Persons Held to Service or Labor in the District of Columbia],

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An Act of April 16, 1862 [For the Release of Certain Persons Held to Service or Labor in the District of Columbia],

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An Act of April 16, 1862 [For the Release of Certain Persons Held to Service or Labor in the District of Columbia],

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An Act of April 16, 1862 [For the Release of Certain Persons Held to Service or Labor in the District of Columbia],

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