Emancipating Lincoln

Emancipating Lincoln: The Proclamation in Text, Context, and Memory

Harold Holzer
Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: Harvard University Press
Pages: 256
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  • Book Info
    Emancipating Lincoln
    Book Description:

    The Emancipation Proclamation is responsible both for Lincoln’s being hailed as the Great Emancipator and for his being pilloried by those who consider his once-radical effort at emancipation insufficient. Holzer examines the impact of Lincoln’s announcement at the moment of its creation, and then as its meaning has changed over time.

    eISBN: 978-0-674-06520-8
    Subjects: History, Sociology, Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[viii])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [ix]-[xii])
  3. Introduction
    (pp. 1-8)

    The world has never had a good definition of the word liberty,” Abraham Lincoln confessed more than a year after issuing the Emancipation Proclamation, “and the American people, just now, are much in want of one.”¹

    The quest for a universally accepted definition has continued ever since. When the Civil War ended in the spring of 1865, the boundaries of American freedom were at least more precisely defined: they restricted the liberty of individual states to depart at will from the American union, and vastly expanded that of African Americans long held in slavery. Yet while history has consistently acknowledged...

  4. 1 The Bow of Promise
    (pp. 9-74)

    The oddly compelling phrase “bow of promise” comes directly from Frederick Douglass—from his second most famous speech about Abraham Lincoln: not the one he delivered on April 14, 1876, in unveiling the Freedmen’s Monument in Washington, but rather the eulogy he offered at the site of the late president’s most famous prewar speech, Cooper Union in New York City, eleven years earlier on June 1, 1865.

    In that initial oration, Douglass spoke of Lincoln as “emphatically the black man’s president . . . the first of the long line to show any respect to the rights of the black...

  5. 2 Emancipator versus Pettifogger
    (pp. 75-128)

    In January 2010—eight score and seven years after America’s sixteenth president issued the Emancipation Proclamation—America’s forty-fourth president proudly placed a rare, autographed copy of it on display in the very same building where it was first composed and made official: the White House. On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, no less, Barack Obama ordered that the relic be hung directly above the bust of Dr. King that occupies a permanent place of honor in the Oval Office.

    To mark the occasion, President Obama held a widely reported meeting with civil rights elders—many of them survivors of the...

  6. 3 Sacred Effigies
    (pp. 129-172)

    The scene was wild and grand. Joy and gladness exhausted all forms of expression, from shouts of praise to joy and tears.” That was how Frederick Douglass described the moment when the words of the Emancipation Proclamation finally arrived over the telegraph wires on January 1, 1863. As he had written in a similarly jubilant mood three months earlier, when Lincoln first announced his emancipation policy: “We shout for joy that we live to record this righteous decree.”¹

    Certainly the word joy could not describe the reigning mood at the White House ceremony at which Lincoln actually signed the document...

  7. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  8. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  9. Notes
    (pp. 175-198)
  10. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 199-202)
  11. Index
    (pp. 203-213)