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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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The Politics of Confiscation

The Politics of Confiscation

(p.120) 8 The Politics of Confiscation
The Civil War Confiscation Acts

John Syrett

Fordham University Press

The failure of the confiscation acts, particularly the second, owed to the inattention and declining interest of the Republicans in Congress. The public also expressed serious doubts about altering the goals of the war, as reaction to Lincoln's proclamation of September 22 on freeing slaves and the fall elections in 1862 made clear. The reaction to Lincoln's September 22 preliminary emancipation proclamation revealed the North's divisions over this limited assault upon slavery. Not everyone was pleased with the effect that Lincoln's pardon policy and Bates's instructions had on confiscation. Some supporters of the Union feared that Southerners would lie, take the oath, and avoid confiscation. They were doubtful that these policies were effective strategies to end allegiance to the Confederacy or to halt the rebellion. The Republicans' unwillingness to move together on the land issue needs to be seen clearly. Republican support for the original premises of confiscation had eroded.

Keywords:   Republicans, confiscation acts, Union, Southerners, rebellion, slavery, emancipation, Confederacy

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