The First Confiscation Act Of September 1862

1900 Words Nov 26th, 2015 8 Pages
With this knowledge Congress passed Major General Benjamin F. Butler quick thinking into a policy, the First Confiscation Act, in August of 1861 which stated that the federal government had authority to seize any property owned by the Confederates which included slaves. By March the following year, an Article of War was produced which prohibited any military or naval services from returning run-away or fugitive slaves to their respective masters, nullifying the Fugitive Acts all together. When the Second Confiscation Act was announced in July of 1862 it “declared ‘forever free’ Confederate-owned slaves who made their way to federal lines or who resided in rebellious territory that fell to federal forces” (Luke and Smith 2014, 14). Also in the bill, was the legitimisation of the “president to utilise ‘persons of African descent’ in any way that he considered ‘necessary and proper for the suppression of the rebellion’” (Luke and Smith 2014, 14). Thus the Militia Act of July 1862, which “gave Lincoln carte blanche” (Luke and Smith 2014, 14) to make use of black resources. Although these acts were issued with the intention of blacks serving as military labour it gave way to many possibilities. The first to act on these possibilities was Major General Jon C. Frémont, in August 1861, who emancipated the slaves of Missouri rebels. By late August, following him, but surpassing freeing slaves, “Republican U.S. senator and brigadier general James H. ‘Jim’ Lane, a Free-Soiler and…

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