Medford places African Americans, the people most affected by Lincolnâ€™s edict, at the center of the drama rather than at the periphery, as previous studies have done. She argues that blacks interpreted the Proclamation much more broadly than Lincoln intended it, and during the postwar years and into the twentieth century they became disillusioned by the broken promise of equality and the realities of discrimination, violence, and economic dependence. Williams points out the obstacles Lincoln overcame in finding a way to confiscate propertyâ€”enslaved humansâ€”without violating the Constitution. He suggests that the president solidified his reputation as a legal and political genius by issuing the Proclamation as Commander-in-Chief, thus taking the property under the pretext of military necessity. Holzer explores how it was only after Lincolnâ€™s assassination that the Emancipation Proclamation became an acceptable subject for pictorial celebration. Even then, it was the image of the martyr-president as the great emancipator that resonated in public memory while any reference to those African Americans most affected by the Proclamation was stripped away.
This multilayered treatment reveals that the Proclamation remains a singularly brave and bold actâ€”brilliantly calculated to maintain the viability of the Union during wartime, deeply dependent on the enlightened voices of Lincolnâ€™s contemporaries, and owing a major debt in history to the image-makers who quickly and indelibly preserved it.
AUTHOR BIO: Harold Holzer is the author or coauthor of twenty-three books and 350 articles on the political culture of Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War era. In 2005, he received a Lincoln Prize for his book Lincoln at Cooper Union and performed "Lincoln Seen and Heard" with actor Sam Waterson, broadcast live on television from the White House. He lives in New York, where he is senior vice president for external affairs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.Edna Greene Medford is an associate professor and director of graduate studies in the Department of History at Howard University. She has appeared as a commentator on C-SPANâ€™s broadcast of the re-enactment of the Lincoln-Douglas debates as well as on the networkâ€™s American Presidents Series and other history programs. She is the former director for history of New Yorkâ€™s African Burial Ground Project.
Frank J. Williams is the author or editor of more than a dozen books, including many works on the subject of Abraham Lincoln, most recently Judging Lincoln. His private library and archive is one of the nationâ€™s largest and finest Lincoln collections. He was the founding chairman of the Lincoln Forum and has served as president of both the Abraham Lincoln Association and the Lincoln Group of Boston. He is Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Rhode Island.
Author : Harold Holzer
ISBN : 080713144X
Language : English
No of Pages : 162
Publication Date : 2006-05
Format/Binding : Hardcover
Book dimensions : 10.1x7.2x0.9
Book weight : 0.01
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