Defending Emancipation: Abraham Lincoln and the Conkling Letter, 1863
Civil War Era Studies
Abraham Lincoln might well have believed that “I never in my life was more certain that I was doing right than I do in signing” the Emancipation Proclamation into military law on January 1, 1863. But doing what was right and what was politically viable were two different things. “At no time during the war was the depression among the people of the North so great as in the spring of 1863,” remembered James G. Blaine, and largely because “the anti-slavery policy of the President was . . . tending to a fatal division among the people.” The simple fact of announcing his intention to proclaim emancipation back in September had created more public anger than Lincoln had anticipated. [excerpt]
Guelzo, Allen C. "Defending Emancipation: Abraham Lincoln and the Conkling Letter, 1863." Civil War History 48.4 (December 2002), 313-337.