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Rebellion 1861     
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Periodical report of 1861 on Fremont's wartime emancipation
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Excerpt from a Harper's Weekly article from September 14, 1861, reporting General Fremont's wartime emancipation of southern slaves. The article cited John Quincy Adams' arguments establishing the legal precedent for Fremont's actions under the war powers.
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Lincoln's Choice slide ticker

Prior to the Civil War, debates over emancipation under the war powers concerned only a limited number of citizens. By 1861, it was a pressing national issue, and its early advocates would soon appear visionary.

The Civil War had turned arcane legal questions about rebel slaves into pressing military realities. With the number of dead and wounded mounting at an historic rate on both sides, northerners could not help but contemplate the strategic advantages of recruiting southern slaves into the Union Army, or at least supporting slaves' efforts to undermine the Confederacy. On August 31, 1861, General John Fremont pushed the issue to a head when he declared martial law in Missouri, stating that all property of those who took up arms against the Union would be confiscated for the public use ďand their slaves, if any they have, are hereby declared free.Ē The justification for Fremontís battlefield law was explicitly traced back to Adams' arguments about the rights of the federal government under the war power.

Abolitionists rejoiced, but not for long. Adamant that the North was fighting to preserve the Union, not to abolish slavery, Lincoln quickly revoked Fremontís martial law.

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Sources: Harper's Weekly, September 14, 1861, 578, Stewart Holy Warriors 184. ©
Part 4, Freedom: Outline  l Images
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 Trail Narrative
 + Prologue
 + Background: 1693-1812
 + Early Years: 1812-1832
 + War: 1832-1838
 + Exile: 1838-1850
 - Freedom: 1850-1882
+ Cost of Freedom
+ Liberty Foretold
spacer spacer Renown in Exile
The War Power
Emancipation
Lincoln's Choice
Black Militants
+ Liberty Found
 + Legacy & Conclusion