Resisting Emancipation in Washington, D.C. – Donald Shaffer

One of my favorite CW blogs is Donald Shaffer’s “Civil War Emancipation.” What I like about his blog is that his posts about the war parallel the current date. Today he writes about emancipation in Washington, D.C.:

“As March ended and April began in 1862, it was clear that emancipation would soon come to the District of Columbia. While the ability of Congress to end slavery legislatively throughout the rest of the United States was greatly doubted due to 1857′s Dred Scott decision in the U.S. Supreme Court, its authority, then as now, over Washington, D.C. was absolute. Virtually no one questioned Congress’ constitutional ability, if it so wished, to end slavery there by legislation. And as April 1862 dawned it was plain that Congress would soon do just that. A bill nearing passage in early April would immediately free slaves in the District of Columbia and compensate their owners if they were loyal.”


About marcferguson

I teach history, including the American Civil War Era, as an Adjunct at American International College in Springfield, Ma. I also teach survey courses in U.S. history, Western Civilization, and World History, and have taught at other area colleges, including the University of Massachusetts/Amherst, and Holyoke Community College. While my academic background is in European History, my interest in the American Civil War began about a decade ago. Other areas of interest include Modernism, 20th century World Thought and Culture, The Rise of the West after 1400, 19th c. American Society and Culture, Central and Eastern European History and Culture, and Local History. I have in recent years cut back my teaching drastically in order to devote more time raising my kids (15 year old twins now), including working part-time at their elementary/middle school for the past 6 years, they are now launched and off to High School, and I plan to crank up my involvement in teaching history and local history projects, particularly in light of the American Civil War Sesquicentennial.
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