Just Testing Ideas
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|I agree that the EP was a "refection of what was going on" AND I think it was about politics. I understand that in the spring of 1862 some several slaves escaped to Ft Monroe. Confederate officers, under a flag of truce, came to ask for their return and were refused by General Ben Butler himself. In May 1862 Butler formalized a policy by issuing an order that slaves that had been used in the war effort and escaped, would not be returned as required under the fugitive slave act. I do not know Lincolns reaction to this - he did repudiate previous emancipation efforts by Fremont and Hunter. In August of 1862 Congress passed the Confiscation Act, which PROHIBITED union officers from returning escaped slaves that had been used in the confederate war effort. My thinking is that, based on these examples, Lincoln was not leading emancipation but more or less reacting to it. He was thinking about the proclamation at about the time Butler was stating his policy and congress was passing its act. Slaves were already escaping in droves. Did the proclamation do anything more than US Officers were already by law required to do? Not really. So yes, I think this was more about politics...about Lincoln reasserting his leadership.