On May 9, 1862, Major General David Hunter issued a proclamation that placed Florida, Georgia and South Carolina under martial law and emancipated all slaves in these states. Ten days later, President Abraham Lincoln announced this proclamation, which publicly voided Hunter's proclamation. In it, Lincoln distanced himself from Hunter's decision, claiming that he had no prior knowledge of it, had given no such authority to Hunter or anybody else, and such decisions would be made only by him and none of his commanders in the field. Lincoln then took the opportunity to urge slave-holding states to take advantage of his plan for gradual, compensated emancipation which Congress approved in a joint resolution March 6, 1862.
- On May 9, 1862, Major General David Hunter issued a proclamation that placed Florida, Georgia and South Carolina under martial law and emancipated all slaves in these states. How did President Abraham Lincoln respond to it?
- When would Lincoln consider declaring slaves free according to the portion of Lincoln’s proclamation beginning with, “I further make known…?"
- What was Lincoln's purpose in the second half of his proclamation, beginning with the words "On the sixth day of March last…?" Use evidence from the document to support your conclusion.
- Think back to Lincoln's reasoning for his response to General John C. Fremont's proclamation freeing the slaves of Missouri as depicted in the October 1861 cartoon, "I’m sorry to have to drop you, Sambo, but this concern won’t carry us both!" What connections can be drawn between this document and that cartoon?
Lincoln, Abraham, "Abraham Lincoln papers: Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916: Abraham Lincoln, Monday, May 19, 1862 (Proclamation revoking General David Hunter's General Order No. 11 on military emancipation of slaves)," 19 May 1962. Courtesy of Library of Congress