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    Description

    An unrecorded printing, not listed in Eberstadt.

    Abraham Lincoln: Important Printing of the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. 11.25" x 15". Broadside titled "By The President of the United States: A Proclamation," n.p., n.d. It contains the text of the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation issued by Abraham Lincoln on September 22, 1862. Since the start of the war, Lincoln had been urged by abolitionists, radical Republicans, and religious groups to free the slaves and draft them into the military. He resisted these suggestions as both premature and risky. They might prompt border states to join the Confederacy and result in European intervention and/or diplomatic recognition. The President, at least publicly, would not acknowledge slavery as the central cause of the conflict. He also hoped that the slavery issue could be handled through a program of gradual emancipation, a government buy-out to the slaveholders, or voluntary colonization to Central America or western Africa. He had rescinded emancipation proclamations issued by Union generals John Frémont and David Hunter for a variety of political and legal reasons. After a year of war and many battlefield setbacks, he decided that shifting the focus to slavery was now a military, if not moral, necessity. The Union victory at Antietam, problematic as it was, served as the impetus for the issuance of the preliminary proclamation. Still, the President tempered his action by offering a "last chance" to the rebel states. The proclamation would not become final until January 1, 1863. The combatants had one hundred days to cease hostilities, hold elections to send representatives to Congress, and adopt any of the President's proposals for emancipation, unrealistic as they were. The balance of the broadside's text reprints provisions of the March 13, 1862 law that deals with escaped slaves, who shall be "deemed captives of war" (a.k.a., contraband) and therefore free men, not to be returned to their former masters and a life of servitude. The Fugitive Slave Bill of 1850 would not be enforced and any slave holders, if they could prove loyalty to the Union and lack of material support to the Confederacy, would be compensated for lost slaves "upon the restoration of Constitutional relations..." The bottom of the broadside contains a quotation by Vice President Alexander Stephens of "the so-called Confederate States", titled "Slavery The Chief Corner-Stone", disputing the Southern claim that slavery was not the underlying cause of the war. While many soldiers and Democratic politicians would oppose the perceived shift from restoring the Union "with or without slavery" to the abolition of slavery, the vast majority of the public supported the policy. The issuance of the final proclamation on January 1, 1863 accomplished many laudable goals, including: moral clarity and purpose, precluding European involvement, undermining the Southern war effort, and swelling the ranks of the Union army with black recruits. Some damp stains along bottom and right edge; professionally backed with rice paper, normal toning, overall a fine example. An example sold at Christie's December 5, 2006 for $26,400.



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    Auction Dates
    May, 2010
    22nd Saturday
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