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The Civil War Confiscation ActsFailing to Reconstruct the South$
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John Syrett

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780823224890

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823224890.001.0001

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Enforcement of the Second Act: Lincoln and Bates

Enforcement of the Second Act: Lincoln and Bates

(p.55) 4 Enforcement of the Second Act: Lincoln and Bates
The Civil War Confiscation Acts

John Syrett

Fordham University Press

Lincoln acknowledged the importance of the second act in a number of instances in the weeks after its passage. He and Attorney General Edward Bates chose not to implement the law vigorously. The second act proved important before it became law as a threat of change and as a symbol to both slaves and Southerners of what the government could do if it wished to reconstruct the South. There are a number of reasons why the Second Confiscation Act was an imperfect instrument. Congress's expanded role during the war was new and unexpected. Bates's administration of the laws was honest, sincere and careful; it lacked any conviction they were just or useful laws. The problems of implementing confiscation also involved the roles of the military and Treasury Department.

Keywords:   Lincoln, Attorney General Edward Bates, Second Confiscation Act, slaves, Southerners, laws, confiscation

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