The Emancipation Proclamation
Who Freed the Slaves?
Mark Towell

 

Synopsis and Rationale

The Emancipation Proclamation is one of this nation’s most famous and cherished documents. Its monumental status has brought on much debate from historians over the years. Who freed the slaves? Why did Abraham Lincoln issue the Emancipation Proclamation? The traditional argument presents Lincoln as the “Great Emancipator.” Recently, however, some historians have argued that the slaves freed themselves. This argument attempts to discredit the “Great Emancipator” theory while explaining emancipation as a process “from the bottom up.” Lincoln was forced into issuing the Emancipation Proclamation, these scholars contend, in large part by the actions of the slaves themselves. Others claim that Lincoln issued the proclamation out of military necessity. This argument emphasizes that Lincoln had also revoked earlier attempts at emancipation by military leaders and others. Along similar lines, some historians have suggested that the proclamation was issued to keep England out of the war.

Another debate has concerned Lincoln’s views on race. According to some, Lincoln did not believe in racial equality; he saw blacks as inferior and unable to live in society with whites. In this view, he issued the Emancipation Proclamation simply to preserve a racist union. Other scholars disagree: Lincoln truly did believe in freedom and equality. This argument follows Lincoln’s own words and actions over the course of his adult life, including his attempts to get the border states to end slavery.

In the end, this unit aims to explore many of the complicated details that preceded Lincoln’s issuing the Emancipation Proclamation and to provide a reasonable answer to the question, “Who freed the slaves?”

Content: The first part of this unit will focus on the Emancipation Proclamation; key factors leading up to it, the actual proclamation and its implications for the Civil War and Reconstruction. The second half of the unit connects the understanding from the first two days to other U.S. History and U.S. Government standards.

Rationale: A central part of the history of the United States has always been the debate over what liberty and equality really mean. The never ending struggle to define these idealistic pillars of our country is something to which we all need to be connected in some way. This unit provides a means for students to get better connected to this process by understanding it and processing it more closely and actively. This is a great topic by which educators can tie several aspects of the U.S. History curriculum together in a culminating unit, which also connects to U.S. Government standards and current events.

This unit is designed for eleventh grade U.S. History students, but could be used with twelfth grade government students as well.

Key concepts the students will be learning are: Main arguments responding to the question “Who freed the slaves?”; issues and events preceding and following the Emancipation Proclamation; analysis of the Emancipation Proclamation itself. Students will be connecting this knowledge to prior U.S. History units and government as well.

Some of the key concepts that students will be interconnecting in this unit are: Current Events, Checks and Balances, Separation of Powers, the Slave trade, Colonial life, the American Revolution, limited government, popular sovereignty, Classical Republicanism/Natural Rights Philosophy/Declaration of Independence/Roots of U.S. Government, Federalists/Anti-Federalists and compromises at the Philadelphia Convention, several parts of the Constitution, Federalism, Citizenship, Civil Liberties/Bill of Rights, Equal Protection, Political Parties, Elections and Voting, Interest Groups, Public Opinion, Media, Congress, Executive Branch, Supreme Court decisions, State and Local Governments, Foreign Policy, Our Interdependent World, Frederick Douglass, John Brown, States’ Rights, election of 1860 and 1864, African American troops, President Lincoln, Antietam, the Gettysburg address, and the Emancipation Proclamation.


Who Freed the Slaves and Why?

Abraham Lincoln was in a bind. As much as he believed in freedom, he was extremely challenged by the following: “how to remove the cause of the War, keep Britain out of the conflict, cripple the Confederacy and suppress this terrible rebellion, and yet retain the allegiance of northern Democrats and the critical border?” (Oates, 19). Many people have questioned Lincoln’s commitment to emancipation, given his focus on preserving the union. The historian James McPherson puts this point in perspective: “Thus Lincoln’s emphasis on the priority of Union had positive implications for emancipation, while precipitate or premature actions against slavery might jeopardize the cause of Union and therefore boomerang in favor of slavery” (McPherson, 201). The first half of McPherson’s statement explains how emancipation could have only been phased out of a preserved union; once the fighting started, focusing first on preserving the union was a necessary first step toward complete emancipation. The second half of the statement speaks to the need for careful, prudent moves with regard to emancipation, given the Union’s volatile connection with slave-holding border states.

In 1861, Delaware was the border state with fewest slaves, and the only border state without a very serious movement to secede from the Union (Gienapp, 13). Historian William Gienapp describes at great length the complicated nature of public opinion in the border states. It becomes clear why Lincoln felt he must revoke John C. Fremont’s proclamation on August 20, 1861, freeing slaves of disloyal persons in Missouri. Lincoln had a better sense of timing and public opinion than most, and Fremont’s move had been less an act of virtue and prudence than one of futile desperation resulting from incompetent administration and leadership (Gienapp, 29, 30). In order to preserve the Union and eventually emancipate the slaves, Lincoln had to keep states such as Kentucky fighting for the Union. Upon hearing the news of Fremont’s action, “a whole company of Kentucky volunteers threw down their arms and disbanded…I [Lincoln] was so assured, as to think it probable, that the arms we had furnished Kentucky would be turned against us” (Gienapp, 24). As Lincoln said: “I think to lose Kentucky is nearly the same as to lose the whole game” (Berwanger, 28). Lincoln had long desired freedom of the slaves, but his position demanded a balance of adherence to principles, tactful timing, and wisdom.

Although Lincoln was clearly focused on Union, the consistency of the anti-slavery message from a prominent politician cannot be trivialized in terms of its effect on the populace. He won the presidency on a platform that included anti-slavery positions and once he won, the South seceded, which was the catalyst for the unraveling of the institution of slavery.

Lincoln had been working on emancipation throughout his presidency. He knew that slavery in America could only be phased out in a preserved Union. Despite his hesitations about the constitutionality of emancipation and his political sensitivity to the importance of border states, “As early as 1861, he was formulating plans for emancipation, while doubts about the loyalty of Missouri and Kentucky lingered into 1862” (Berwanger, 28). He asked Congress for a law that would give freedom to slaves who were fleeing to Union lines (Congress granted this three months later), and he continually pursued compensated emancipation in the border slave states. Gradual compensation at the state level solved Lincoln’s constitutional dilemma with regard to the protection of slavery, states’ rights and individual property rights in the Constitution, for there was no doubt that it was constitutional for the people of the states to choose to abolish slavery (Berwanger, 28, 29, 30). Lincoln described slavery as “a problem to be handled with ‘all due caution, and with the best judgment I can bring it,” This explains his prudence: “…more than any other person in the world in his time, he understood the extreme complex nature of the slavery problem” (Roy, 46). As president, Lincoln was not in a position to act as boldly as some would have liked. He had to balance his ideals with those of the radical and conservative Republicans and loyal Democrats inside and outside of Congress, border states, the slaves, the military and the Supreme Court.

     The preliminary Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862, and the actual proclamation on January 1, 1863, were revolutionary. Congress had passed a second confiscation act in July of 1862, freeing all slaves whose owners supported the rebellion, but “the Confiscation Act was far more limiting than the Emancipation Proclamation” (Berwanger, 33). Historian Stephen Oates wrote, similarly, “Contrary to what many historians have said, Lincoln’s projected Proclamation went farther than anything Congress had done” (Oates, 20).

Oates describes the goal of Lincoln and the Republican Party: “Some day the American house must be free of human bondage. That was the Republican vision, the distant horizon Lincoln saw” (Oates, 17). Caesar Roy agrees: “while some may question Lincoln’s timetable for eradicating the institution, there can be no question about his objective” (Roy, 46). Finally, “Lincoln and the Radicals may have stood apart on the means of achieving racial reform but in the end their goal was the same” (Berwanger, 38).

Some historians claim that if Lincoln had any goal of freeing the slaves, it was a low priority at best. They claim that the slaves were the ones who held this goal most strongly and acted on it with the firmest commitment. This argument holds that the actions of the slaves themselves had the heaviest influence toward ending slavery.

Historian Barbara Fields states, “In issuing his final Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, Lincoln himself conceded that liberty must take the day, nothing shorter. Preserving the Union - a goal too shallow to be worth the sacrifice of a single life - had become a goal impossible in any event to achieve in that shallow form. In truth, it had been impossible from the beginning” (Ward, 178). Fields contends that “Although Lincoln privately believed slavery was wrong and wished it might be abolished, his public policy faithfully reflected the standpoint of those for whom the war was an issue between free, white citizens” (Ward 178).

      In her essay, Fields also contends that, “unlike Lincoln,” slaves knew that their freedom would come with the war. Right after Lincoln’s election, there were many celebrations in the South. Slaves began envisioning their freedom and acting on the vision. “Their stubborn actions in pursuit of their faith gradually turned faith into reality. It was they who taught the nation that it must place the abolition of slavery at the head of its agenda” (Ward 179). In many places, slaves escaped their owners and sought refuge with federal troops. This action put pressure on the military commanders, Congress and ultimately Lincoln, all of whom were forced to act. Fields claims that in the case of Lincoln and others, this action was against their will. The war had been a means of pushing their desire for liberty forcefully onto a vulnerable government. Historian Peter Kolchin supports this point:  “The war provided Southern slaves with unprecedented opportunities to resist authority, opportunities they seized upon to engage in acts of ‘self-liberation’ that prodded the federal government to turn a war for union into a war for freedom” (Kolchin, 201).

      Fields also makes the point that “although the second confiscation act and the Emancipation Proclamation turned the armed forces of the Union into an engine of liberation within the Confederacy, nothing but the unarmed force of the slaves themselves could prevent owners from seizing them again once the troops moved on” (Ward 181). The slaves had fled to areas under Union control, unofficially or eventually officially joined the Union military, disrupted plantation production in the South, spread word to rouse other slaves into action, or simply fought and resisted on their own in the South. “By the time Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation, no human being alive could have held back the tide that swept toward freedom” (Ward 181). As Fields sums up her position, “The government discovered that it could not accomplish its narrow goal- union- without adopting the slaves’ nobler one- universal emancipation” (Ward 181).

     Some historians have focused neither on Lincoln’s noble emancipation goals nor on his lack of commitment to freeing the slaves. Instead, these historians claim that the Emancipation Proclamation simply became a military necessity for the North. “As the war dragged on, however, the President also faced mounting pressures to seize the moment and embrace a new war aim: freedom for the slaves” (Kolchin, 202). Historians have put forth several reasons to argue that the Emancipation Proclamation was a war necessity:

     First, emancipation would hurt the plantations, and would thus undermine the Southern economy and its ability to effectively wage war. Lincoln defended the constitutionality of the proclamation in a letter to James C. Conkling on August 26, 1863. In doing so, he stated one of the key war measures it offered: “I think the constitution invests its commander-in-chief, with the law of war, in time of war. The most that can be said, if so much, is, that slaves are property. Is there- has there ever been- any question that by the law of war, property, both of enemies and friends, may be taken when needed?”(Lincoln, 391). By taking Southerners’ property, Lincoln hurt the Confederacy. In many cases, managing plantations became the duty of women, or at least an understaffed group of men. With the often insubordinate behavior of slaves already, the proclamation only spread and intensified the problem for the South – and with plantations crippled, the Southern war effort would be as well.     

     Second, emancipation would help the North by redefining and reinvigorating its cause. By late 1862, fervor for the cause of “Union” was dwindling as the war dragged on. This call to “a new birth of freedom” would help to get more patience, drive, support and recruitment from the North.

     Third, the proclamation would help keep England out of the war. England, France and others were more sympathetic to a Confederate war for independence (Kolchin, 202). If it became a war about slavery, England would be much less likely to support the South. “[Among Western nations] the greatest harassment in favor of an end to slavery came from Great Britain” (Heckman, 150). However, British press reaction was extremely critical of Lincoln. Richard Heckman quoted twenty-six different British papers in the first weeks of October 1862; conservative, moderate, independent, and liberal, they all showed varying degrees of negative response to Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation (Heckman, 153).

     Fourth, emancipation would make it easier to use black recruits, increasing the size and passion of the Northern army (Kolchin, 202, 203). As Lincoln said,  “some of the commanders of our armies in the field who have given us our most important successes, believe the emancipation policy, and the use of colored troops, constitute the heaviest blow yet dealt to the rebellion” (Lincoln, 392).

     Fifth, Lincoln had revoked earlier proclamations from military leaders in the interest of military necessity, and Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation had no more or less virtue behind it than his other moves. “As is well known, Generals David Hunter and John C. Freemont were early proponents of military emancipation, and were reined in by President Lincoln from their premature experiments with this policy” (Carnahan, 24). This would suggest that Lincoln showed a pattern of action in which all decisions ultimately were aimed at winning the war. People such as Barbara Fields, who support this idea that Lincoln’s emancipation efforts aimed more to win a war to preserve the Union than to free the slaves, would point to Lincoln’s revocation of earlier attempts at emancipation and maintain that he would not have issued the proclamation, had it not been out of military necessity and pressure from slave self-liberation. Here, we see one way in which these various positions cross over and interconnect.

     Sixth, there was international and even American precedent for such action. From around 1700, many European slaveholding nations had employed a policy of emancipating and arming the slaves of the enemy. Several of the examples were in North America. In 1693 the King of Spain issued an emancipation proclamation, offering freedom to any slaves who escaped English colonies and went to Spanish Florida. “Over the next 70 years, at least 250 slaves escaped from the Carolinas and Georgia and made it to St. Augustine and freedom” (Carnahan, 25). Great Britain used the same policy as a war measure against the colonies during the Revolutionary War. Within a week of the proclamation, more than 500 Virginia slaves had fled to the British forces. When British forces evacuated New York, Charleston, and Savannah, 14,000 African Americans went with them. Great Britain also used emancipation as a military measure against the United States in the War of 1812 (Carnahan, 26). In 1838, General Zachary Taylor, whom Lincoln later supported for President, backed up an earlier proclamation during the war with the Seminoles and sent captured former slaves to Oklahoma, rather than back to slavery (Carnahan, 28).

     Finally, one could refer to Lincoln’s own earlier words to show that he did not endorse an action such as the proclamation when the country was not at war. As he wrote in 1852, “I think no wise man has perceived, how it (slavery) could be at once eradicated, without producing a greater evil” (Lincoln, 88).


Two Sides of Lincoln on Racial Equality

Abraham Lincoln’s view on race relations is sometimes hard to understand given how often he wrote and spoke and the many variables that are needed to contextualize his words. “Lincoln in the post-World War II era became the ‘Reluctant Emancipator’” (Berwanger, 25). And many people still take this position. “Many distinguished contemporary black Americans, including some black historians, are prone to portray Lincoln as nothing more than an astute and able politician,” whose only goal in emancipating was to preserve a “status quo Union” (Roy, 46).

Lincoln’s words often showed his reverence for the Constitution above all else. The following words were part of a protest in the Illinois legislature on slavery in 1837. After condemning slavery, he goes on to say, “the Congress…has no power, under the constitution, to interfere with the institution of slavery” (Lincoln, 9). In the 1850s and into the 1860s, Lincoln supported the idea of colonization, or sending the African Americans to colonize elsewhere. In his eulogy on Henry Clay in 1852, Lincoln said of Clay: “He considered it no demerit in the (American Colonization) society, that it tended to relieve slave-holders from the troublesome presence of the free negroes” (Lincoln, 89). In 1852, Lincoln saw it as a “glorious consummation” if America could be free from the “dangerous presence of slavery” and the captive people could be restored to their “long-lost father-land” (Lincoln, 89).

In President Lincoln’s annual address to Congress in December of 1861, he went on at length, asking Congress to carry out a plan of colonization (Lincoln, 321). Possibly the most powerful evidence for this position is in Lincoln’s “Address on Colonization to a committee of Colored Men, Washington, D.C.” Although he clearly believes that African Americans should be free and respected equally, he does not seem to believe that the two races can live together in true equality. “We have between us a broader difference than exists between almost any other two races…we suffer on each side. If this is admitted, it affords a reason at least why we should be separated. …Your race are suffering the greatest wrong inflicted on any people. But even when you cease to be slaves, you are yet far removed from being placed on an equality with the white race” (Lincoln, 338).

Barbara Fields begins her essay with the classic quote from Lincoln’s letter to Horace Greeley, to set up her point that freeing the slaves was not a priority for Lincoln: “If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it; if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that” (Ward 178). Later in the essay, attempting to show Lincoln’s lack of enthusiasm for equality, she states: “In December 1862, three months after announcing his intention to free slaves in the rebellious Confederacy, Lincoln proposed an unamendable amendment to the Constitution that would have postponed the final abolition of slavery in the United States to the year 1900” (Ward 179).

There is evidence right up to his last public speech that Lincoln, always trying to strike a balance between competing interests until the timing was right for further progress, was espousing a position of less-than-perfect equality. In a speech on reconstruction in Louisiana, he mentioned “the elective franchise”: “I would myself prefer that it were now conferred to the very intelligent, and on those who serve our cause as soldiers” (Lincoln, 456).

     Of course there is good evidence to demonstrate why many historians assert that Lincoln believed in freedom and equality. In 1837, at the age of 28, Abraham Lincoln Protested as a member of the Illinois legislature: “the institution of slavery is founded on both injustice and bad policy” (Lincoln, 9). As an aspiring politician in 1858, Lincoln stated, “I confess myself, as belonging to that class in the country who contemplate slavery as a moral, social and political evil…and look hopefully to the time when as a wrong it may come to an end” (Berwanger, 27). For nearly thirty years he spoke out against slavery. James McPherson describes the consistency of this message by explaining that in 175 political speeches over six years, Lincoln was a “one-issue man”: “Over and over again Lincoln denounced slavery as a ‘monstrous injustice,’ ‘an unqualified evil to the negro, to the white man, to the soil, and to the state’” (McPherson, 197).

In 1861, Lincoln requested that Congress pass a law giving freedom to slaves who had fled to Union lines. He also began plans for gradual, compensated emancipation among border slave states in late 1861 and continued the effort through 1862. Several of these efforts fell short, so in December of 1862 he proposed a constitutional amendment, “authorizing Congress to compensate slave owners in those states that passed legislation freeing  their slaves” (Berwanger, 31). Lincoln worked tirelessly with the governments of border states on the issue of emancipation. Speaking to Maryland, Lincoln said, “‘My wish is that all who are for emancipation in any form, shall cooperate …[so that] the friends of emancipation [will not] lose the measure altogether’” (Gienapp, 35). He eventually put his influence behind the amended constitution in Maryland that would end slavery. “Although disappointed that the state had not taken this step two years earlier when he had urged it to do so,…he hailed the ‘complete success’ of emancipation [declaring Maryland] ‘secure to Liberty and Union for all the future’” (Gienapp, 36). Lincoln was also working on a plan for military emancipation.

Even Lincoln’s letter to Horace Greeley, which Fields cites in order to set up her point that freeing the slaves was not a priority for Lincoln, requires context. Lincoln wrote, “If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it; if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that.” Eugene Berwanger offers a perspective different from Fields’s: “Cited by itself and without reference to Lincoln’s July 22nd Cabinet meeting, the passage indicated reluctance toward emancipation on Lincoln’s part. However, when the letter is given proper chronological context, showing that Lincoln had already formulated the Emancipation Proclamation and was merely awaiting the propitious moment for its announcement, the statement takes on a different tone. It was Lincoln’s own way of softening the blow of military emancipation for the conservative elements” (Berwanger, 32).

     The preliminary Emancipation Proclamation in September 1862 caused a huge backlash that dealt a monstrous blow to the Republican Party. “The North’s five most populous states – all of which had gone for Lincoln in 1860 – now returned Democratic majorities to Congress.” Nevertheless, Lincoln “told a delegation from Kentucky that he would rather die than retract a single word in his Proclamation” (Oates, 21). The concern for conservative elements in the North was always there: “In part, the ritual of colonization was designed to calm white racial fears in the North” (Oates, 19).

Fearing the possible lack of potency of the Emancipation Proclamation after the war in the southern states and in the courts (Oates, 33), “Lincoln’s final step in cutting out the malignancy of slavery was his insistence that the Republican party, during its 1864 convention, adopt a plank in its platform calling for a 13th Amendment to the Constitution, one ending slavery in all the United States” (Roy, 49).

     Toward the end of the war, Lincoln appears, in some of his statements, to have more faith in the idea of racial equality and a biracial society. One example of this is in his Reconstruction calls for apprenticeship programs for former slaves. When compared to his efforts getting the Thirteenth Amendment ratified, “Lincoln’s endeavors in behalf of black suffrage were even more startling” (Berwanger, 35). Although he was hesitant because states had the responsibility for setting up election procedures, on several occasions Lincoln pushed for black suffrage in the Southern states for the “very intelligent” and those who had fought in Union ranks. As stated earlier, some historians have used Lincoln’s position on black suffrage to show his lack of commitment to equality but Eugene Berwanger, once again, offers a different perspective. He asserts, “By the early months of 1865 Lincoln’s more liberal stand on racial issues was strengthening…If he had used his letter to [Horace] Greeley to prepare conservatives for emancipation, he now seemed intent on readying the public for black suffrage” (Berwanger, 37).


The Emancipation Proclamation and the Thirteenth Amendment

Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, one hundred days after the preliminary proclamation of September 22, 1862. The Proclamation begins by recounting some of the key elements of the preliminary proclamation: on January first, all slaves held by states or parts of states, in rebellion against the national government, would be free and the executive branch would “recognize and maintain” such freedoms. Later, Lincoln writes, the military will put many of them to work. Finally, he believes the proclamation “to be an act of justice.” People who claim that Lincoln freed the slaves would point to these clauses as evidence that the proclamation was not only a hugely symbolic gesture toward freedom, but a practical, productive one as well. Lincoln clarified that the proclamation had been issued “by virtue of the power in me vested as commander-in-chief” and as a “fit and necessary war measure for suppressing the rebellion.” The proclamation goes on to list all of the states (with exceptions for certain loyal parts of states) that were affected and later states that it is warranted by the Constitution upon military necessity.” These clauses would be used by those who say that the proclamation was issued as a military measure to win the war. People claiming that Lincoln did not free the slaves might point to the preliminary proclamation, which refers heavily to a new article of war from Congress on March 13, which started the emancipation process. They might also points to the limitations of the Emancipation Proclamation. It set slaves free from a specific list of states, exempting all loyal states and loyal parts of states in rebellion who would be “for the present left precisely as if this proclamation were not issued” (Lincoln 346, 368, 369).

Those three words, “for the present,” lead us to the Thirteenth Amendment. Lincoln seems to be hinting that something is on the horizon. Indeed it was. He encouraged a constitutional amendment abolishing slavery later in 1863. When it failed in the spring of 1864, “Lincoln now became more aggressive” (Berwanger, 34). He requested a call for an abolition amendment to be put on the national Republican platform in 1864 and then proceeded to push the issue with great tenacity: “to wavering Congressmen he made patronage promises. When passage seemed doubtful, he went so far as to release from military prison certain rebels who were related to Democratic members of Congress” (Berwanger, 34). The Thirteenth Amendment was ratified in December of 1865, eight months after his assassination. Slavery was abolished across the country at that point, but of course true equality through Reconstruction was another problem. One side note on the Thirteenth Amendment: it abolishes not only slavery, but “involuntary servitude” as well, which has been the focus of various court cases in our country’s history.


Conclusion

     Traditionally, Lincoln was often given too much credit by historians and others who either did not have all the evidence or were overlooking it. In reaction to this, many historians challenged the idea that Lincoln freed the slaves. By challenging the “Great Emancipator” concept, several of these historians have contributed greatly to a more accurate picture, but at times, while making their point, they have overlooked some crucial evidence in the same way many of their predecessors did while giving Lincoln too much credit. The most reasonable conclusion is one that takes into account the significance of all the people involved, including Lincoln’s anti-slavery belief, vision and action.

      Earlier, I mentioned a case in which Lincoln asked Congress for a law giving freedom to slaves who were fleeing to Union lines. This is a perfect example of the interconnected nature of the emancipation effort – in this case, Lincoln, the slaves and Congress, together working for emancipation. Peter Kolchin also refers to the concept: “Faced with a protracted military stalemate, a restive slave population in the South, and a radicalized public opinion in the North, President Lincoln determined by the fall of 1862 to move against slavery. By that time, the political risks of inactivity equaled or exceeded those of appearing rash and desperate and freed the President to act on his anti-slavery principals” (Kolchin, 207). I would argue that Lincoln, through his words and actions largely helped to create the opportunity for himself.

     The anti-Lincoln sentiment is still very much alive, and still spawning arguments.  In May 2001, Indiana University scholar Ann Leonard challenged author Lerone Bennett, Jr.’s assertion that “Lincoln was a racist who did little to advance the cause of freeing the slaves…. Much as I esteem the abolitionists and Radical Republicans, Bennett’s criticism of Lincoln because he was not an abolitionist is like calling an eye contemptible and worthless because it is not an ear. …in the enormous effort to free the slaves the abolitionists and radicals desperately needed Lincoln, and Lincoln needed them just as much.” Leonard goes on to explain, “Freeing the slaves was beyond the capabilities of abolitionists or radicals” (Leonard, 93). She echoes the concern of many in the last sentence of her article. The concern is that in an overreaction to Lincoln’s legendary status, the facts get twisted and the accurate picture is tougher to see. “Lerone Bennett has allowed his personal bias to override objective reality and he does a great disservice to the historical record and race relations when he attempts to discredit Abraham Lincoln with corrupted ‘evidence’” (Leonard, 95).

      Let us all simply do our best to examine the evidence without bias. Clearly Lincoln detested slavery. Clearly he was the most visible, instrumental, influential individual with regards to abolishing the institution of slavery. Clearly, it was always a collaboration: Lincoln, the slaves themselves, the radical Republicans, abolitionists, people such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, state governments, the media – all of these individuals and groups, and more – they all played an important role in Emancipation. Should Lincoln get as much credit as he still does in homes and schools across America? Frederick Douglass might say “yes.” Douglass had been a slave himself and eventually became one of the nation’s leading abolitionists. Early in Lincoln’s presidency, Douglass described Lincoln as “preeminently the White man’s president, entirely devoted to the welfare of the white man” (Roy, 49). Douglass had a significant change of opinion over time. Several years later Douglass wrote, “His [Lincoln’s] greatest mission was to accomplish two things: first to save his country from dismemberment and ruin; and second to free his country from the great crime of slavery…taking him all in all, measuring the tremendous magnitude of the work before him, considering the necessary means to ends, and surveying the end from the beginning, infinite wisdom has seldom sent any man into the world better fitted for his mission than Abraham Lincoln” (Roy, 49). The words of Fredrick Douglass show the same complicated understanding of Lincoln, the war and slavery that I came to after all of my research - a place to which I hope to take my students as well.



Curriculum Unit: Objectives and Standards, Lesson Plans

Objectives and Standards:

At the end of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. List and explain the key components of the argument: Lincoln freed the slaves. What were his specific words and actions that back this up?
  2. List and explain the key components of the argument: The Emancipation Proclamation was issued as a war measure. How would it help the North win the war?
  3. List and explain the key components of the argument: The slaves freed themselves.
  4. What are the main challenges to the traditional “Lincoln, the Great Emancipator” argument and what evidence is there that slaves acted to free themselves?
  5. Work in groups to analyze and evaluate the Emancipation Proclamation, explaining its subtleties and key components. What did the EP do and what did it not do?
  6. Make connections answering the following questions (see lessons 3,4,5):
  7. Explain how issues and events preceding and following the Emancipation Proclamation relate to the following core concepts in U.S. History and U.S. Government:

    Current Events, Checks and Balances, Separation of Powers, the Slave trade, Colonial life, the American Revolution, limited government, popular sovereignty, Natural Rights Philosophy/Declaration of Independence/Roots of U.S. Government, Federalists/Anti-Federalists and compromises at the Philadelphia Convention, several parts of the Constitution, Federalism, Citizenship, Civil Liberties/Bill of Rights, Equal Protection, Political Parties, Elections and Voting, Interest Groups, Public Opinion, Media, Congress, Executive Branch, Supreme Court decisions, State and Local Governments, Foreign Policy, Our Interdependent World, Frederick Douglass, John Brown, States’ Rights, election of 1860 and 1864, African American troops, President Lincoln, Antietam, the Gettysburg address, and the Emancipation Proclamation.

These are the Nevada U.S. History and Civics standards addressed with connection (competition) questions. These will be used in lessons 3, 4 and 5 – SEE THOSE LESSONS FOR HOW THE FOLLOWING STANDARDS AND QUESTIONS WILL BE USED.

Group #1

U.S. HISTORY:

2.12.2-Integrate, analyze, and organize historical information from a variety of sources.

5.12.11-Compare and contrast life in the New England, Middle, and Southern Colonies.

5.12.12-Analyze the impact of world commerce, including the African slave trade on Europe, Africa, and the Americas.

6.12.4-Describe the ideas of John Locke, Thomas Paine, and Thomas Jefferson and their influences on the American Revolution and the formation of the United States.


CIVICS:

Rules and Law
1.12.1  Explain the concept of the rule of law in the establishment of the U.S. Constitution.

Documents
1.12.2  Explain the influence of social contract theory, natural rights philosophy, and republicanism in the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the U.S. Constitution.The U.S.

Constitution and Amendments
1.12.5  Identify and explain changes in the interpretation and application of the U.S. Constitution.

1. Explain how issues and events preceding and following the Emancipation Proclamation relate to the rule of law and beliefs of John Locke and Thomas Jefferson. How do specific parts of the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution relate to these issues?

2. How did the slave trade and life in the colonies affect the United States over time? How did people in the North and South view the idea of liberty differently? How might the North and South have defined the “true” meaning of the American Revolution differently? How did the North and South interpret the Constitution and/or U.S. government differently?

 

Group #2

U.S. HISTORY:
2.12.2-Integrate, analyze, and organize historical information from a variety of sources.

6.12.7-Describe the Constitution’s underlying principles, including: checks and balances, federalism, limited government, popular sovereignty, separation of powers.

6.12.13-Analyze the issues, events, and the roles of key people related to the development of United States political institutions, including: judicial review, political parties.

6.12.21-Examine the causes, key people, events, and outcome of the Civil War, including: states’ rights and slavery, election of 1860, President Lincoln, Emancipation Proclamation.


CIVICS:

The U.S. Constitution
2.12.1  Examine the organization of the U.S. Constitution and describe the structure it creates, including the executive, legislative, and judicial branches.The Legislative Structure and Process

2.12.2  Describe the creation of laws through the legislative process.

Legislative Powers
2.12.3 Analyze and give examples of the expansion of the national government through the application of the enumerated and implied powers.The Executive Branch

2.12.4 Describe the duties of the executive branch.

The Judicial Branch
2.12.5 Describe the jurisdiction of the federal court system and the power of judicial review.Checks and Balances

2.12.7 Analyze the effectiveness of checks and balances in maintaining the equal division of power.

1. Explain how issues and events preceding and following the Emancipation Proclamation relate to the three branches of government. Describe some of the actions each branch took during this time. How did they check and balance each other? How might Federalists and Anti-Federalist have viewed this conflict?  (Possible addition: How did compromises at the Constitutional Convention relate to this conflict?)

2. How did the Emancipation Proclamation itself reflect the balance of power in government (in the three branches, between national and state government, between political parties and between the people and the government.). Take specific lines from the proclamation to make your point. How do these lines reflect the President’s concern for the other branches? How might members of the other branches view these clauses? (Possible change or addition: How might people like Frederick Douglass and/or John Brown have reacted to the Emancipation Proclamation?)

 

Group #3

U.S. HISTORY:
1.12.1-Analyze and develop a position on a current event.

2.12.2-Integrate, analyze, and organize historical information from a variety of sources.

6.12.7-Describe the Constitution’s underlying principles, including: checks and balances, federalism.

6.12.8-Analyze the issues involved in the ratification of the Constitution, including: the Bill of Rights.

6.12.21-Examine the causes, key people, events, and outcome of the Civil War, including: states’ rights and slavery.

7.8.1 – Identify the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution

7.12.1 – Summarize the successes and failures of the Reconstruction period (Intro to this standard)


CIVICS:
Division of Powers
3.12.1  Explain the U.S. Constitutional provisions for division of powers between the state and national governments (delegated, reserved, concurrent powers).

Federalism
3.12.2 Provide contemporary example of federalism.Constitutional Supremacy

3.12.3 Use examples to illustrate the supremacy clause in defining the relationship between state and national governments.

1. What specific parts of the Constitution, including the Bill of Rights, could be used by the North and the South to justify their positions on states’ rights and slavery? Use specific clauses – how would the North and South have viewed them differently? How do the states view them today?

2. Compare and contrast Federalism before the Civil War to Federalism today. How was the Civil War a battle over different ideas of what U.S. federalism was? How did the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation (Possible addition: and the 13th and 14th Amendments) change the nature of the relationship between the national government and the state governments? (Possible addition or change: What does the Gettysburg address say the war is about?)

 

Group #4

U.S. HISTORY:
2.12.2-Integrate, analyze, and organize historical information from a variety of sources.

6.12.7-Describe the Constitution’s underlying principles, including: checks and balances, federalism, popular sovereignty, separation of powers.

6.12.21-Examine the causes, key people, events, and outcome of the Civil War, including: state’s rights and slavery, election of 1860 and ’64, President Lincoln, Emancipation Proclamation.


CIVICS:

Leaders and Elections
4.12.1 Assess the processes by which leaders are selected in the U.S. political system and analyze the role of the electoral college system in the election of the President.Political Parties

4.12.2 Analyze the roles and function of factions within political parties and the role of parties in public policy and politics.

Interest Groups
4.12.3 Evaluate the significance of interest groups in the political process of a democratic society.Formation of Public Opinion

4.12.4 Analyze the role that television and other media play in the process of political persuasion.

Propaganda
4.12.5 Evaluate propaganda in both historic and current political communication.Public Policy

4.12.6 Describe the process by which public policy is formed and carried out.

1. How did the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860 lead to the Civil War? What issues were involved with his re-election bid in 1864? (Possible additions: Why did he win in ‘64? Why did he almost lose in ‘64?) What were the main political parties at the time and how did they try to influence public policy?

2. Describe some of the main interest groups during the Civil War? How would they have viewed the Emancipation Proclamation? How did (or might have) the press have reacted to the EP in America? (Possible addition: How did the press react in Great Britain?) How did (or might have) interest groups in the North and South use(d) propaganda to support their cause? (Another possible addition: How did different groups react to African American troops?)

 

Group #5

U.S. HISTORY:
2.12.2-Integrate, analyze, and organize historical information from a variety of sources.

6.12.7-Describe the Constitution’s underlying principles, including: checks and balances, separation of powers.

6.12.8-Analyze the issues involved in the ratification of the Constitution, including: the Bill of Rights.

6.12.13-Analyze the issues, events, and the roles of key people related to the development of United States political institutions, including: judicial review, extension of suffrage.

6.12.20-Explain abolitionism and describe the importance of abolitionists and slave revolts, including: John Brown, Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Nat Turner.

6.12.21-Examine the causes, key people, events, and outcome of the Civil War, including: states’ rights and slavery, election of 1860, Frederick Douglass/African American troops, President Lincoln, Emancipation Proclamation.

7.8.1 – Identify the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution.

7.12.1 – Summarize the successes and failures of the Reconstruction period (Intro to this standard).


CIVICS:
Citizenship
5.12.1  Examine the rights of citizens and how these rights may be restricted.

5.12.2  Examine the responsibilities of U.S. citizens.

Symbols
5.12.3  Explain symbols and documents of a nation and how they represent its identity.Individual Rights

5.12.4    Describe the development of the Bill of Rights and provide a contemporary application.

Individual Rights
5.12.5  Analyze the United States Constitution and its amendments in protecting individual rights, including the Fourteenth Amendment’s provisions for due process and equal protection.Conflict and Resolution

5.12.6 Identify major conflicts in social, political, and economic life and analyze the role of compromise in the resolution of these issues.

The Supreme Court and Individual Rights Cases
5.12.7  Describe the role of the United States Supreme Court as guardian of individual rights through the examination of land-mark cases, including: The Dred Scott Case.

1. Describe First Amendment rights and how they might be used and limited during war time. How did the Dred Scott case, the Bill of Rights, and the Emancipation Proclamation protect rights and/or not protect rights before, during and after the Civil War?  (possible additions: and 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments; for advanced classes: Describe the right of Habeas Corpus. How was it limited during the Civil War and why?)

2. How was the Emancipation Proclamation a compromise and how was it not a compromise? Who gained and who lost? What did they gain and lose and why? What does it symbolize in America? How is it understood and possibly misunderstood? (Possible addition: Why might a battle like Antietam have made the timing right for the EP?)

 

Group #6

U.S. HISTORY:
1.12.1-Analyze and develop a position on a current event. 2.12.2-Integrate, analyze, and organize historical information from a variety of sources.

6.12.7-Describe the Constitution’s underlying principles, including: checks and balances, federalism, separation of powers.

6.12.13-Analyze the issues, events, and the roles of key people related to the development of United States political institutions.

6.12.21-Examine the causes, key people, events, and outcome of the Civil War, including: state’s rights and slavery.

9.12.8 - Analyze the major issues, events, and key people of the civil rights and minority rights movements.


CIVICS:

Conflict and Resolution
5.12.6  Identify major conflicts in social, political, and economic life and analyze the role of compromise in the resolution of these issues.Individual Rights

5.12.5  Analyze the United States Constitution and its amendments in protecting individual rights, including the Fourteenth Amendment’s provisions for due process and equal protection.

1. States’ rights (Federalism) and slavery (civil and political rights) were the two biggest issues during the Civil War. Did the Civil War settle these issues, or are they still major issues today? Be specific when giving several historic and current examples to back up your position. If you believe they are still important issues today, what should be done about them?

2. Abraham Lincoln once said, “Fellow-citizens, we cannot escape history…. The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation…. In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free – honorable alike in what we give, and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best, hope of earth.” To what do you think Lincoln was referring when he said the “Last Best Hope”? Do you believe his statement was true? Do you believe it is true today? Be specific when giving several historic and current examples to back up your position.

(Possible addition: How does this idea relate to America’s role in the world community?)


Lesson Plans

Lesson #1

Theme: Who freed the slaves?  (105 min. block)

Prior Student Preparation:   Homework reading: excerpts from appropriate book chapter for traditional, “watered down” answer.

Standards Addressed: 6.12.21-Examine the causes, key people, events, and outcome of the Civil War, including:  states’ rights and slavery, election of 1860, Frederick Douglass/African American troops, President Lincoln, Emancipation Proclamation, Antietam, Vicksburg and Gettysburg, Gettysburg Address, Generals Grant and Lee

Instructional Objectives:
List and explain the key components of the argument: Lincoln freed the slaves. What were his specific words and actions that back this up?

List and explain the key components of the argument: The Emancipation Proclamation was issued as a war measure. How would it help the North win the war?

List and explain the key components of the argument: The slaves freed themselves.

What are the main challenges to the traditional “Lincoln, the Great Emancipator” argument and what evidence is there that slaves acted to free themselves?

Sponge: Lincoln quote – August 26, 1863 – letter to James Conkling: “The most that can be said, if so much, is that slaves are property. Is there, has there ever been, any question that by the law of war, property, both of enemies and friends, may be taken when needed?”  copy and write thoughts – briefly discuss after attendance, etc. (5-10 min.)

Lesson opener: Read and lead a brief discussion three paragraphs from three sources that support the three different arguments:   (per teacher preference) OR: read excerpt from James McPherson, Drawn with the Sword – chapter 14 (from first 2-3 pages +/-) (10 min.)

(also – objectives and questions from above on the board)


Order of the Lesson:
Jigsaw: (prep 5 min.) (unless teacher needs more time to explain jigsaw)

-divide class into approximately 5 groups of 5 – number each student 1-5

- each group will receive a different set of readings – I will list mine here but other teachers may want to use other readings (see bibliography for authors)

- one: Lincoln freed the slaves, (Roy) two: slaves freed themselves, (Ward) three: EP was a military measure, (Carnahan with 11 paragraphs crossed out because the article is too long) four: Mix of Lincoln’s writings (Lincoln – Fragment on Slavery, p. 91, Speech at Independence Hall, p. 282, letter to Horace Greeley, p.343 and letter to Salmon P. Chase, p.394), five: McPherson – Drawn with the Sword, Chapter 13, cutting out pages 196-206 except for the paragraphs that end and begin on them respectively because the chapter is too long.

-read and discuss (start group discussions at about 20 minutes – (30 min.)

- switch/mix groups 1’s, 2’s, 3’s, 4’s and 5’s get together and teach their readings approx. 4 minutes per person = (20 min.)

-As class, brainstorm on board at least 3-5 key components of each argument (15 min.)

-Class Continuum – form line from Lincoln freed slaves to slaves freed themselves – pair two on extreme ends and give 30 seconds to explain “why?” – more, if time (5 min.)

-Check for understanding: back to desks – clear notes, blank sheet – write 3 main arguments for each of the 3 positions plus one random category (5 min.)

-Closure: write in closure section of notebook – reflections on the lesson (5 min.)


Lesson #2

Theme: What did the Emancipation Proclamation do/not do?  (105 min. block)

Prior Student Preparation: Homework reading: copy of Emancipation Proclamation – available in school books and all over the internet

Standards Addressed:
6.12.21-Examine the causes, key people, events, and outcome of the Civil War, including: state’s rights and slavery, President Lincoln, Emancipation Proclamation

Instructional Objectives:
Work in groups to analyze and evaluate the Emancipation Proclamation, explaining its subtleties and key components. What did the EP do and what did it not do?

Sponge:  “Now praise and tank de Lord, he come     To set de people free;    Ole massa tink it day ob doom,      But we ob jubilee”  [John Greenleaf] Whittier’s Song - -  copy and write thoughts – briefly discuss after attendance, etc. (5-10 min.)

Lesson opener: Play clip from “Fletch Lives” video – the section with the Emancipation Proclamation reference – (10 min.)

(also – objective and question from above on the board – briefly discuss


Order of the Lesson:
Read EP to class: (?possibly wear my top hat and maybe beard/black jacket?)– (?possibly break it down as we go but not fully – just enough to understand exactly what it is saying – but not why it says that or the possible implication of the words?). (20-25 min.)

Break class into 6 or 7 groups: each group gets a relatively equal section of the EP (split up paragraphs) each group answer the following three questions: What are the key components? What are the subtleties in your section, if any? What does your section do and/or not do? Write questions and answers in notebooks. (15 min.)

Share to whole class: (20 min.)
-Four Corners: send about a fourth of the class into each quarter of room – ask them to think/discuss for a minute how various people could read the EP and which people might be in the following groups in 1863 – group 1: Lincoln freed slaves, group 2: Slaves freed themselves/ Reluctant Emancipator, group 3: It was a military measure, group 4: random thoughts

Think/ discuss in group – then thoughts to class (10- 15 min.)

-Check for understanding: On board, one at a time – rapid fire – each student come up and write one thing about the EP – Key component, subtlety, something it did, something it did not do, random thoughts as last option – while students are waiting to come up, they are compiling board brainstorm into notebook page “Emancipation Brainstorm” ( 10-15 min.) Add symbols/images to sheet for homework

-Closure: write in closure section of notebook – reflections on the lesson (5 min.)

(teachers may need a lesson 6 and possibly 7 here depending on experience with presentations like this as well as student knowledge, skill levels and work ethic)


Lessons #3, #4, #5

Theme: What are the connections between EP/Civil War issues and other U.S. History (or government) topics we have studied this year?  (3 - 105 min. blocks)

Prior Student Preparation:  they will already have done the “We the People” mock congressional hearings once earlier in the year. If they have not, 15 minutes needs to be planned to either watch a sample video or explain the process.

AT THE END OF THIS DOCUMENT IS A DETAILED EXPLANATION OF THE MOCK CONGRESSIONAL HEARING PROCESS – WATCH FOR “WE THE PEOPLE” INSERVICE COURSES IN WHICH YOU GO THROUGH THE PROCESS - - IT WORKS GREAT FOR STUDENTS AND TEACHERS:

Standards Addressed: See above and below.

Instructional Objectives:
Explain how issues and events preceding and following the Emancipation Proclamation relate to the following core concepts in U.S. History and U.S. Government:       

Current Events, Checks and Balances, Separation of Powers, the Slave trade, Colonial life, the American Revolution, limited government, popular sovereignty, Natural Rights Philosophy/Declaration of Independence/Roots of U.S. Government, Federalists/Anti-Federalists and compromises at the Philadelphia Convention, several parts of the Constitution, Federalism, Citizenship, Civil Liberties/Bill of Rights, Equal Protection, Political Parties, Elections and Voting, Interest Groups, Public Opinion, Media, Congress, Executive Branch, Supreme Court decisions, State and Local Governments, Foreign Policy, Our Interdependent World, Frederick Douglass, John Brown, States’ Rights, election of 1860 and 1864, African American troops, President Lincoln, Antietam, the Gettysburg address, and the Emancipation Proclamation.

Students will be able to work successfully as a group and class to reach goals.

Students will be able to present professionally.

Students will be able to research and write a clear, concise testimony.

(papers must be short and to the point!- in order to answer the questions completely in the time allotted)

“I can locate, organize, interpret and synthesize information in multiple primary and secondary sources to support ideas and positions”.

Lesson #3:

Sponge: quote from Lincoln – “It is safe to assert that no government proper ever had a provision in its organic law for its own termination” (first inaugural address – March 4, 1861) copy and write thoughts – briefly discuss after attendance, etc. (5-10 min.)

Lesson opener: Remember the “We the People” presentations - discuss– (5 min.)

(also – objective and question from above on the board – briefly discuss

Order of the Lesson:      
Break class into 6 units:
number students at random: 1-6 (or you can arrange groups to spread and balance multiple intelligences)

Pass out questions (see above) and additional readings/resources (see student resources) for each group.  The groups have this class and the first part of next to write the two papers (each paper should be about a page double-spaced – or about 2 minutes timed – each paper should be 1:45 to 2:15 when presented.

Groups can use class books, computer, library and the resources they’ve been given today and last two classes to research for their papers. – Most groups should be able to answer the questions using only their books, the resources from today and last two classes and their heads! (what they already learned this year – if this is done in the second semester; mid-Civil War unit or later).

WORK ON THE QUESTIONS ALL OF CLASS

(leave finished papers and papers-in-progress in class in case of absences next class!)

Lesson #4:

Get right to work – first half of class finishing/fine tuning papers. (60 min)

Break up papers for who will read which parts (10 min)

Practice presenting – I time the read of the papers – all groups go at once – each paper at least twice (30 minutes)

On board: public speaking/presentation skills

Lesson #5:

- Check for understanding/assessment:

- Official presentations for scores/competition – with 5 minute cross-examination/ follow up questions from me after testimony is presented (approx. 10-13 minutes per group after brief feedback and change time = 90 – 100 minutes)

Students who are not presenting: use feedback sheet to give comments to each group – this is just feedback for the presenters – classmates should offer positive feedback as well as constructive ideas for improvement – they write it down during presentations and then either give it to the presenting group, or to the teacher first to be checked, then to the presenters.


Annotated Bibliography: Teacher Resources

Berwanger, Eugene H. “Lincoln’s Constitutional Dilemma: Emancipation and Black Suffrage.” Papers of the Abraham Lincoln Association, 1983, 5: 25-38.
     
Berwanger adds great context to the debate over Lincoln’s civil rights accomplishments or short falls. He basically argues that Lincoln did the best he could for civil rights for blacks, given the limitations of war strategy and the Constitution. I used this source for scholarly contextualization of these complicated issues.

Carnahan, Burrus M. “Military Necessity And The Emancipation Proclamation: Another Look At The Record.” Lincoln Herald, 2001, 103 (1): 23-29.
     
Burrus Carnahan examines various arguments regarding the Emancipation Proclamation. Was it ordered to create a military advantage for the Union or was it meant to take an ideological stand against slavery? The article explains a detailed history of other leaders using emancipation as a military measure. I used the article to better understand these topics.

Conlin, Michael, F. “The Smithsonian Institution Lecture Controversy: The Clash of Antislavery Politics with American Science in Wartime Washington.” Civil War History 2000 (4): 301-323.
      In this article, Conlin offers a close look at the dynamics between abolitionists and other individuals and groups in Washington D.C. during the war. The article helped me understand how some of the politics and ideologies were working outside the core of the government. It helped me to understand how societal debates over issues such as these were affecting public opinion and how that might have affected Lincoln and others.

Gienapp, William E. “Abraham Lincoln and the Border States.” Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association 1992 (13): 13-46.
     Gienapp discusses Lincoln’s policies with the border states. He focuses on Maryland, Kentucky and Missouri. Gienapp explains Lincoln’s actions that kept these states in the Union with loyal governments and few occupying troops – and how Lincoln tried to get the border states to voluntarily emancipate. I used this source to better understand Lincoln’s border state policies and how well they worked in different areas.

Heckman, Richard A. “British Press Reaction to the Emancipation Proclamation.” Lincoln Herald 1969, 71 (4): 150-157.
     This article analyzes a number of British newspapers of various political persuasion from October of 1862, and concludes that they were all critical of Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation (preliminary proclamation at this point). I used this source to better understand reaction over seas.

Kolchin, Peter. American Slavery  1619-1877. New York: Hill and Wang, 1993.
     In the parts of this book that I used Peter Kolchin gives some credit to Lincoln and some to the “freedpeople.” He offers his version of how and why slavery ended. I used this source, especially chapter seven, for yet another perspective on this topic.

Leonard, Ann. “Close Looks at Lincoln’s Words Shows Emancipator’s Motives.”  Lincoln Herald 2001 103(2): 93-95.
    
Ann Leonard critiques a presentation from author Lerone Bennett, Jr. His presentation had attempted to discredit Lincoln as the “Great Emancipator” and call him a racist. She claims that he distorted the historical record in order to serve his views and make a political point. She challenges several of his points. I used this source to better understand recent debate on the topic.

Lincoln, Abraham. Lincoln: Selected Speeches and Writings. New York: Vintage Books, 1992.
     This is a great source for words from Lincoln himself. It covers material from early 1832 to his last public address on Reconstruction in April of 1865. I used this book to understand Lincoln more intimately – his beliefs and how they evolved.

McPherson, James M. Drawn With the Sword. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996.
     McPherson argues, especially in chapter 13, that although slaves fleeing to Union lines (self-liberation) was an important factor, Lincoln had the most influence in freeing the slaves – through his election on an anti-slavery platform, his unwillingness to compromise on the spread of slavery, his wartime leadership, his reelection, etc. I used this book (especially chapters 1, 4, 12, 13 and 14) to better understand context and a broader perspective of the war, race issues today and Lincoln’s intentions and actions.

McPherson, James M. Crossroads of Freedom – Antietam. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.
     In this book, McPherson describes the battle of Antietam as the key turning point in the war. He explains how it turned the tide of the war and provided Lincoln with a victory for the North and the proper timing to issue the Emancipation Proclamation. I used this source to better understand the battle dynamics that influenced Lincoln’s decision to issue the proclamation.

Oates, Stephen B. “’The Man of Our Redemption’: Abraham Lincoln and the Emancipation of the Slaves.”  Presidential Studies Quarterly 1979 9(1): 15-25.
     Stephen Oates describes an evolution of Lincoln’s ideas about civil and political rights for blacks that lead to the Emancipation Proclamation and a stronger belief in equal rights. I used this source to get perspective on Lincoln’s ideological evolution.

Roy, Caesar A. “Was Lincoln the Great Emancipator?” Civil War Times Illustrated 1994 33(2): 46-49.
     Caesar Roy compares Lincolns attack on slavery to a doctors attack on disease. He analyzes Lincoln’s speeches, letters and actions to convince his audience of Lincoln’s strong antislavery ideals. I used this source for scholarly perspective on Lincoln’s words and actions.

Ward, Geoffrey C. The Civil War: An Illustrated History. New York: Knopf, 1990.
     
This article by Barbara Fields in Ward’s book provided the foundation for key points of the “Anti-Lincoln” arguments. She argues that the slaves freed themselves and that Lincoln was not the “Great Emancipator”, but an obstacle to real freedom. I used the source to better understand the “self-liberation” argument.


Student Resources from lesson one:

Group 1 - Roy, Caesar A. “Was Lincoln the Great Emancipator?” Civil War Times Illustrated 1994 33(2): 46-49.
     Students will use this source to understand the perspective that Lincoln freed the slaves.

Group 2 - Ward, Geoffrey C. The Civil War: An Illustrated History. New York, Knopf, 1990.
     Students will read the article by Barbara Fields to understand the “self-liberation” argument.

Group 3 - Carnahan, Burrus M. “Military Necessity And The Emancipation Proclamation: Another Look At The Record.” Lincoln Herald, 2001, 103 (1): 23-29.
     Students will use this article to  understand the “EP was a military measure” argument. (11 paragraphs will be crossed out because the article is too long)

Group 4 - Lincoln, Abraham. Lincoln: Selected Speeches and Writings. New York: Vintage Books, 1992.
     
Students will use a mix of Lincoln’s writings (Lincoln – Fragment on Slavery, p. 91, Speech at Independence Hall, p. 282, letter to Horace Greeley, p.343 and letter to Salmon P. Chase, p.394) in order to know him better.

Group 5 – McPherson, James M. Drawn With the Sword. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996.
    
McPherson looks at arguments against the “Great Emancipator” theory and breaks them down. He argues that Lincoln freed the slaves. Students will use Chapter 13, cutting out pages 196-206 except for the paragraphs that end and begin on those two pages respectively because the chapter is too long.


Student resources for presentation papers:

Students should have access to the internet or newspapers for current events.

Resources for the parenthetical “Possible addition” parts of group questions:

-Group 4 could use “Oates” – pages 20 and 21 for question one.

-Group 4 could use the “Heckman” article for question two

-Group 5 could use “Lincoln” – Letter to Erastus Corning and Others – p. 373 for question one.

Each of your classes will be competing against each other to see who has the highest total score. Also, the individual groups will be competing against each other to see which group wins even if their class doesn’t win. If you teach U.S. History first, third and sixth periods, then maybe sixth period wins the class competition but the group awards might end up as follows: group #1 – winner = third period, group #2 winner = sixth period, group # 3 winner = third period, group # 4 winner = sixth period, group #5 winner = sixth period, group #6 winner = first period.

This guideline is for the “We the People” program (usually held in civics classes) – but it can be adjusted to work for many situations – it is used in U.S. History classes, as well as middle school and fifth grade classes. Go to www.civiced.org for much more information. It is good to get people from the community as judges but the teacher can be the only judge – or students and or other teachers/staff can be judges. Judges can prepare questions in advance or just come up with them as they hear the testimony and during cross-examination.


Guidelines for Conducting a Simulated Congressional Hearing


Overview

The simulated congressional hearing at the high school level represents a useful and practical way for teachers to evaluate the extent to which students understand the constitutional principles they have studied. By testifying in this type of hearing before a committee of community representatives, high school students will refine their oral presentation skills and develop a greater degree of self-confidence and self- assurance.

It is recommended that community organizations such as the PTA, service clubs, bar associations, or other professional groups serve as cosponsors for the hearing. These organizations can assist in many ways to make the hearing successful and, as a result, both the students and the school will receive positive recognition for the activity.

The guidelines listed below for the simulated hearings are intended to be flexible and teachers should not hesitate to modify them to meet the needs of their classes. Importantly, however, they provide the classroom teacher with an additional means of evaluating pupil performance and permitting students to demonstrate their skills and knowledge to parents, interested school staff, other students, and members of the community.


Procedure

1. State and/or congressional district coordinators are available to help organize hearings. (See the enclosed program brochure for a listing of state coordinators.)


2. Decide how the hearing will be conducted.

Hearing conducted before an audience. Under the most favorable circumstances, the hearing should be conducted in an auditorium or other facility that can accommodate an audience. Parents, members of the community, representatives of cosponsoring organizations, and other classes from the school may be invited to the hearing.

Hearing conducted in the classroom. If it is not feasible to conduct the hearing in an auditorium, it may be conducted in a classroom with a smaller number of people invited to observe the proceedings.


3. Have students prepare for the simulated hearing.

a. After students have studied the entire curriculum, divide the class into six groups and assign each group to a different unit of the We the People . . . The Citizen and the Constitution text.

Note: If not all the units were taught, the number of groups can be reduced accordingly, and the hearing can be conducted on those unity topics covered during instruction.

b. Distribute the hearing questions (included in this handbook) to each group.

c. Students should prepare a four-minute presentation for each of the questions for their unity and be able to respond to follow-up questions from the committee for an additional six minutes.

d. Students may use notes during their four-minute presentations and all students in each group should be encouraged to speak during the hearing.

e. If possible, arrange for one or more outside experts to assist students in preparing their presentations. Subject matter experts and speech or debate specialists are recommended.

Note: The above guidelines are intended to be flexible and may be modified to meet the needs of individual teachers and their classes.


4. Select people to serve as congressional committee members.

A workable number for the congressional committee is three members; however, more community representatives may be recruited, if desired. One committee can hear testimony from all the student groups in a class, or more community members can participate by having a different three-member committee for each group (unit).

The community representatives selected to serve as members of the congressional committees should have some background related to constitutional history and principles. Possible candidates include social studies teachers from local high schools, school district social studies supervisors, professors from local colleges, lawyers, local politicians, leaders of community groups and service organizations, and former high school students who have participated in the We the People . . . program.


5. Instruct community representatives serving on “congressional committees.”

Provide copies of the We the People . . . The Citizen and the Constitution text, the multiple choice test, hearing instructions, and hearing questions to the individuals who will be acting as congressional committee members. Review the hearing structure, questioning procedures, and selection of questions. Emphasize the importance of their feedback to students at the end of the hearing.

Instruct committee members that each student group will be prepared to respond to the hearing questions for their assigned unity. During the follow-up question period, committee members may ask students to explain or expand upon their prepared statement. Follow-up questions should be designed to help the students demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the basic constitutional principles and their ability to apply historical or contemporary events to their unit topic.

Committee members should use the Congressional Hearing Group Score Sheet to record their impressions of the hearings and to provide feedback to students. Emphasize to committee members that the students’ answer to the questions and adherence to the criteria provides an evaluation of each group’s performance.


6. Invite participation members of Congress.

The Center recommends that the member of Congress (or a staff representative) in whose district the school is located be invited to participate by


7. Invite participation by members of cosponsoring organizations.

Ideally, cosponsoring organizations should be closely involved in planning and running the simulated hearing. They may participate by


8. Invite members of the school community to the hearing.

Parents, school staff, and other members of the school community should be invited to hear the students’ testimony.


9. Prepare Certificates of Achievement.

Students participating in the We the People . . . program earn Certificates of Achievement by passing the Test on the History and Principles of the Constitution and Bill of Rights and participating in the simulated congressional hearing These certificates should be signed by the member of Congress or another prominent official.

Thirty (30) Certificates of Achievement are included with the instructional materials. The Center for Civic Education will provide additional certificates as needed and can also provide Certificates of Appreciation to be given to the adults who assist with the implementation of the hearing. To obtain these certificates call 800-350-4223 or write the Center for Civic Education.


10. Conduct the Hearings.

a. Distribute to each committee member copies of the Congressional Hearing Score Sheet to use in evaluating each group’s testimony.

b. If the hearing is held in a school auditorium or assembly room, arrange tables and chairs on the stage in a V shape with the open end of the V facing the audience. The committee members should sit along one arm of the V, and each group of students should be seated along the other arm when it is their turn to speak before the committee. If possible, a microphone should be provided for the committee members as well as for the students.

If the hearing is to be held in a classroom, arrange the room so that a set of chairs faces the committee, in a V shape if possible. These chairs are for the group that will be presenting to the committee; other students will remain at their desks.

c. Introduce your members of Congress and any other dignitaries who are attending the hearing. In addition, the members of the cosponsoring organizations should be introduced and their contributions acknowledged.

d. Introduce the committee members to the class. The initial introduction should identify committee members by their actual professions. After the introductions, however, the role-playing begins, and the committee members can be addressed as congressmen and congresswomen. One committee member may act as moderator during these introductions and throughout the hearings. The moderator may be addressed as the chair of the committee.

e. Call the first student group forward and seat them in the chairs facing the committee. The moderator should introduce the students or allow them to introduce themselves.

f. Have the chairperson state briefly the purpose of the hearing and the topic to be addressed. Students begin the hearing with a prepared statement in response to the designated question for their unit. The committee will ask follow-up questions which the students have not yet seen; they also may ask students to elaborate or to explain elements of their prepared testimony.

g. In order to provide the same amount of time for each group, a timer should be appointed to see that the groups do not exceed the allotted time of four minutes for the prepared presentation and six minutes for the questioning period.

h. After each group has testified on its topic, the congressional committee should give feedback to the students on their performance using the Congressional Hearing Score Sheet as a guide.

i. Allow the group to return to their desks and call the next group forward.

Repeat steps e-I for all six groups.


11. Hold an awards ceremony.

Ideally, it would be best to hold an awards ceremony immediately after the simulate hearing since parents and community members will be present. At that time the Certificates of Achievement can be presented to the students, and Certificates of Appreciation can be presented to parents and community members who assisted and supported the hearings.


12. Evaluate the effectiveness of the hearings.

Teachers may help evaluate the effectiveness of the hearing as an instructional activity by asking students to respond orally or in writing to such questions as

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The following is a description of how to score the groups. The teacher uses a rubric with six categories, scoring each category 1-10 (give a score out of a hundred next to the rubric total so you have a tie-breaker if two groups score the same).  There is probably a sample rubric at www.civiced.org .

Scoring Criteria Descriptions

Understanding

            This criterion assess how well students demonstrate their comprehension of the various historical and contemporary issues associated with each question- this would include the main question, the sub-questions, and the follow-up questions posed by the judges.


Constitutional Application

     This criterion focuses on how students demonstrate their knowledge of the history and principles of the Constitution. Is their information accurate? Do they cite Constitutional principles and examples from Constitutional history when appropriate?


Reasoning

     This criterion focuses on the extent to which students’ arguments reflect logical and critical thinking. To support their conclusions, students should do more than just give an example. They should also explain why the example is relevant to their argument. This is the category to deduct points if students present opinions or beliefs without reasons or explanations.


Support

     Support refers to the evidence, examples, and/or illustrations presented by students in support of the positions they take in response to questions. The top rate groups will tend to provide ample support for their position, and that support will be appropriate and accurate.


Responsiveness

     This criterion focuses on the extent to which student’s full address the main question, sub-questions and judges’ follow-up questions. For example, a response might be eloquently reasoned and adequately supported and still not address the question asked. This is the category to deduct points when students are determined to present information they have prepared even if the questions hasn’t been asked.


Participation

     Regarding the sixth criterion, participation, groups in which most members speak should be rated higher than those in which one or two “star” students dominate the entire 10 minutes. However, it is reasonable for only one or two students to make the opening statement, but the other students should attempt to answer follow-up questions.

     We recognize that some students have an especially difficult time speaking in public. Since our competition requires that whole classes compete, we recommend that a group not be penalized for having one or two students who do not participate much because of extreme shyness, language problems, or other limitations. In rating participation, you should consider the extent to which most students participate.

            Note that there is no criterion for “appearance.” We have informed classes that regular school clothes would be appropriate for all competition activities. While we have no problem with students who want to “dress up,” we do not want students to feel obligated to buy clothes for this event.