Monthly Archives: April 2011

Jefferson Davis and William Lloyd Garrison Agree

There were perhaps no two men more different in the early days of the Civil War than Jefferson Davis and William Lloyd Garrison. Davis, a Mississippi planter and slaveholder, was Provisional President of the Confederacy, dedicated to slavery’s preservation. William … Continue reading

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Have We A War Policy?

With the American Civil War underway in late April 1861, like other people, African Americans had to decide what stance they would take toward the conflict. In its edition of April 27, 1861, the Weekly Anglo-African explored the options open … Continue reading

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Going to Prison for Helping a Slave

When examining government enforcement of the laws about slavery before the Civil War, historians tend to focus on federal law, especially the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. This focus is understandable because that is where the controversy lay in the 1850s, … Continue reading

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Ben Butler Appeases Maryland Slaveholders

In the history of slave emancipation in the United States, Gen. Benjamin Franklin Butler is an unlikely, but real hero. Civil War Emancipation has already addressed how Butler by declaring slaves “contraband of war” in late May 1861 helped make … Continue reading

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The Black Press Reacts to Fort Sumter

With 90 percent of African Americans in bondage in 1861, it is easy to forget free people of color (about evenly split between North and South). In the North, where free African Americans did not live under quite as tight the restrictions … Continue reading

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The Fight to Fight Begins

Wednesday’s Disunion in the New York Times has an obscure but significant story in the history of slave emancipation in the United States. John Lockwood and Charles Lockwood, in piece entitled “State of Seige,” describe the precarious position of Washington, D.C., in the days … Continue reading

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In Praise of Elite Media Blogs: Disunion and A House Divided

One of the recurring worries about the Sesquicentennial is about whether this event will allow professional historians to influence in a significant way the public’s understanding of the American Civil War. That is, can the last few decades of scholarship, emphasizing race, … Continue reading

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Slavery and Secession – 1860 Census Statistics

Secession Date and Slave Population (1860) State   Secession Date Slaves (S) S % of Total Pop. Slave- holders (SH) SH %-of free persons S. Carolina 12/20/60 402,406 57.2 26,701 8.9 Mississippi 1/09/61 436,631 55.2 30,943 8.7 Florida 1/10/61 61,745 … Continue reading

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Emancipation Day – Another Reason to Thank the Slaves

Today, April 15, Emancipation Day is observed in the District of Columbia. Normally, this holiday is celebrated in Washington, D.C. on April 16. However, since in 2011, April 16 falls on a Saturday, the observance has been moved one day earlier to … Continue reading

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Fear, Paranoia, and Slavery – April 1861

To be a slaveholder was almost by definition to live in fear. While they proclaimed paternalistic feelings for their human property, slave owners regularly committed acts that created bitter hatred: whipping the disobedient; separating families; exploiting sexually black women; withholding adequate food, shelter, and … Continue reading

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