I Freed Myself: African American Self-Emancipation in the Civil War Er

It was about time that we would put the Declaration of 1863 in its proper place.

El Imperio de Calibán

I Freed Myself: African American Self-Emancipation in the Civil War Era

Marshall Poe 

New Books in History  June 5, 2014

David Williams David Williams

Lincoln was very clear–at least in public–that the Civil War was not fought over slavery: it was, he 61eT-apOtrL._SL160_said, for the preservation of the Union first and foremost. So it’s not surprising that when the conflict started he had no firm plan to emancipate the slaves in the borderland or Southern states. He also knew that such a move might prove very unpopular in the North.

So why did he issue the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863? There are many reasons. According to David Williams‘ fascinating new book I Freed Myself: African American Self-Emancipation in the Civil War Era (Cambridge University Press, 2014), an important and neglected one has to do with African American self-emancipation. After the war began, masses of slaves began to leave…

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About Dennis R. Hidalgo
I am a historian of the Atlantic World. I am passionate about people, those alive in the present and those who left little trace of their past.

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