Jan 9, 2012

Abraham Lincoln’s Audacious Plan

(NYTimes) Abraham Lincoln is remembered by some as a thoughtful, often cautious leader. But in late 1861 he began to develop a plan that, even during that most unusual of times, was audacious in the extreme: the federal government would buy out Delaware’s entire slave population.
In November 1861 he drafted legislation that he hoped would be introduced in the legislature of Delaware, the smallest of the slave states — and a slave state loyal to the Union. “Be it enacted by the State of Delaware,” Lincoln’s draft began, “that on condition the United States of America will, at the present session of Congress, engage by law to pay . . . in the six per cent bonds of the said United States, the sum of seven hundred and nineteen thousand and two hundred dollars, in five equal annual installments, there shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, at any time after the first day of January in the year of our Lord one thousand, eight hundred and sixty-seven, within the said State of Delaware.”
... Lincoln predicted to his friend David Davis that “if Congress will pass a law authorizing the issue of bonds for the payment of the emancipated Negroes in the border states, Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri will accept the terms.” Continued