The Civil War Confiscation Acts: Failing to Reconstruct the South

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Fordham Univ Press, 2005 - History - 282 pages
This book is the first full account in more than 20 years of two significant, but relatively understudied, laws passed during the Civil War. The Confiscation Acts (1861-62) were designed to sanction slave holding states by authorizing the Federal Government to seize rebel properties (including land and other assets held in Northern and border states) and grant freedom to slaves who fought with or worked for the Confederate military. Abraham Lincoln objected to the Acts for fear they might push border states, particularly Missouri and Kentucky, into secession. The Acts were eventually rendered moot by the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th Amendment. John Syrett examines the political contexts of the Acts, especially the debates in Congress, and demonstrates how the failure of the confiscation acts during the war presaged the political and structural shortcomings of Reconstruction after the war.
 

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Contents

Act and Its Opponents
20
Divided Republican
35
Early Military Confiscation
73
Rules of War and Later Military
88
The Treasurys Part
103
The Politics of Confiscation 120 8
120
Andrew Johnson and the End
137
Constitutionality and Duration
169
Conclusion
185
Appendix
191
Notes
197
Selected Bibliography
249
Index
269
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Page 8 - I think there is great danger that the closing paragraph, in relation to the confiscation of property and the liberating slaves of traitorous owners, will alarm our Southern Union friends and turn them against us; perhaps ruin our rather fair prospect for Kentucky.

About the author (2005)


John Syrett is Professor of History Emeritus at Trent University.

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