Not surprisingly, other historians are weighing in on the sesquicentennial of the Emancipation Proclamation. Here is what I’ve come across so far. No doubt there is more to come. Readers: feel free to send me links to any other essays of this sort you come across.
Eric Foner, “The Emancipation Proclamation at 150: Abraham Lincoln’s turning-point” (in The Guardian). Some good thoughts on the Emancipation Proclamation from the dean of Reconstruction historians. I appreciate that Foner reminded me that the Preliminary version had a last overture to the slave states to accept gradual compensated emancipation.
Allen Guelzo, “How Lincoln Saved the ‘Central Idea’ of America” (in the Wall Street Journal). A nice piece from the most prominent proponent of the Emancipation Proclamation’s centrality in freeing the slaves. Still, I respectfully disagree with Guelzo on the practicality of returning contrabands to slavery had there been a negotiated settlement to end the Civil War. “Rendition” (as Guelzo describes it) would have been much more difficult in the Civil War given that slavery was a much bigger institution and anti-slavery sentiments much more prevalent among white Northerners than in the aftermath of the American Revolution and War of 1812. Still, this is speculative “what if” history that is of questionable value in seeking insight into the Emancipation Proclamation. (Helpful hint: if you are not a subscriber, type the title of Guelzo’s article into Google and then follow the link it provides to the story to get through the WSJ paywall.)
Brooks Simpson, “Countdown to Emancipation” (in his blog, Crossroads). Simpson issues a useful reminder that September 22 was the start not the end of the Emancipation Proclamation’s public life and that there would be much more to come on this issue. How true.
Richard Striner, “Lincoln’s Great Gamble” (in Disunion in the New York Times). Striner discusses what a political risk Lincoln took in announcing the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation less than two months before the November 1862 midterm elections. (Tip of the hat to Albert Mackey for bringing this piece to my attention.)
Stay tuned to Civil War Emancipation for more on the Emancipation Proclamation.