tv [untitled] June 9, 2012 8:30pm-9:00pm EDT
the guy who says make civilians feel it, henry halak's not a burn and torch everything guy, either. he's an expert on international law. he in fact had written a treatise on international law. in 1862, he was good friends with a guy who was a legal scholar. he comes and visited halak while he's still in the west, and halak's urging lieber writes what becomes known as general orders number 100. you heard of it as the lieber code. it's a code of conduct for how to treat noncombatants in war time. it becomes the foundation for the geneva convention. this is a guy who also oversees the transition to hard war. it's a more complicated concept than we at first think. it involves more than burning and destruction. it means something more specific than suddenly the devil came down to dixie. so what it really means is how people thought about, how they
prosecuted the civil war shifted from pitch battles between armies to a much broader context between two full societies. by the summer of 1862, the union has recognized that the war can no longer be fought -- this is lincoln so i want to get it right. elder stocks charged with rose water. where do we see that response? if i'm telling you it means more than the battlefield, we see a shift to hard war outside of the military theater. the answer is yes. one of the places is in -- yeah, sorry? >> world war i, ii, et cetera, both sides are very good at humanizing and dehumanizing the opponent. in the civil war, was there a push to try to demonize or
dehumanize the northern soldiers on the north side, dehumanize southern soulgers, if so, to what extent? >> i think there's a degree of that throughout the history of human warfare. human beings don't generally like to do obvious harm and violence to each other. you have to do something in your own mind to prosecute war. kind of a memorial, a way to do it is to try to dehumanize or demonize the enemy. the union, it's complicated for the union about the extent of which that's a good idea because they remind them they're still part of us. so that's a complicated prospect for the union. so what they tend to do is demonize slave holders, but think that everybody else is still okay. except to the extent which they are misled by the slave holders, then we need to straighten them back out. for the confederacy, it's a more straightforward project, we
don't want to be a part of them, and we saw that in davis's message in 1862. that becomes a strategy really by 1862 for the confederates, is to portray union forces as vandals. so in that sense, something like the butler's order plays right in. look at the horrible beast, they call him beast butler, we need to be separate from this guy. >> you're probably going to mention this, but how much sort of the shift in the northern public's view of emancipation came from them coming into contact with slavery? wasn't there, say, really contact with slavery beyond what you read in the papers. >> depends on which northerner and where he lives. by and large, as we'll hear, you're right, as we well hear as we get into the emancipation
proclamation, i think the northern public and union army are not always on the exact same page where emancipation is concerned. i think you put your finger on part of why. because if you are a farm boy from vermont, or if you make shoes in massachusetts, or if you are from illinois or ohio, depending on what parts, it's quite possible you have never seen a real live slave. to see slavery as an institute is an enormous factor in how union soldiers will think about emancipation. particularly if the way in which you see them is that's who's building your -- exactly. now, the opposite can happen sometimes, too, in that 500 of these slave refugees showed up, they're sick, they're starving, they feel like a burden to us. i have a war to fight. i don't want to deal with them. so the opposite can also happen. but i think the shock of seeing
slavery, though, shouldn't be underestimated. they talk about that over and over, how jarring they find the actual sight of it. >> ethan? >> is it a fair statement to say the army was more pro emancipation than the rest of society? >> i think it gets there much faster, i do. i think so. as we'll hear in a second, i have to fight this thing. that's what we have to do to get rid of it. yes, there is a time lag between when the army will support emancipation. yes? >> although the slaves came over to the union side and had important roles, were they treated nicely by the union soldiers? >> that varies a lot. and the way -- and this is a tricky -- this is a tricky question. in that you know, some of these camps called contraband camps are without question, sites of humanitarian crisis, and there's no way to sugar coat that.
mortality rates in a place like we haven't gone to vicksburg yet because it hasn't fallen, but there will be a big one in vicksburg. the mortality rates there are so astonishing that one aide worker said if you wanted to kill slaves, you couldn't have found a better way. they're dreadful. how do we think about that? are these camps -- are the places where union soldiers and slaves come into contact sort of, you know, wonderful sites of refuge? no, but they're not outright, kind of a way to kill off the population. here is how i see it, when did the red cross come into existence? the u.s. isn't part of it until much later. the army is not a humanitarian organization and there's not world precedence yet. i have been thinking about this question a lot lately which is
why this is way too long. if you're a leader, for example, what you have in moral history to look at for your precedence for war refugees, i can't think of anything. world war i, slander, the notion of refugee will become -- there will be precedence, something to look to. part of the union army's problem is it didn't know what to do. there are hundreds and later thousands of the slave refugees and it's not ready and it doesn't know what to do. and it's got individuals who -- whatever they think of getting rid of slavery, they have widely varying attitudes toward black people as people, and some of them, there's no sugar coating, it are horrible. there's mistreatment and abuse happens. the death rates are terrible and awful, but at the exact same time in places, though, these are the exact same places where you see people revisiting assumptions and changing their minds. they don't let us have an easy
way out either way. we can't turn them into it's a small world after all, wonderful moment, but we also do a disservice to the complicated process of emancipation and racial attitudes and all that if we demonize them. and i think they're important because i think there's something about war in that. i really do. yeah, joyce? >> can you draw a parallel between the populous of the north, not having seen very many black people, and the concern in the north that what are we going to do with all of the slaves once they're liberated? we can't have them among us, but meanwhile, the contrast is the union army does have them with them. so is it true that what you can think of is worse than what you were really experiencing? so is that a factor in all these crazy schemes to, you know, colinize neegoes into the west or guatemala or mexico or
liberia. it's all a scheme to get rid of them, isn't it? >> what they are, i think, are attempts to separate out two things. that is slavery which is a problem and you want it to go away. but that's quite separate from what about these 4 million people who have been enslaved and white northerners are not in any big rush by and large to elevate them to full citizenship status either. what they want to do is answer the one question and not deal with the other. they're generally people who want to answer the emancipation question, but they don't want to deal with the what comes next. the schemes are touted, none come to much, so there are all sorts of schemes that fly before and even during the war. but we have to get to emancipation first. we better get there. or we're still going to be stuck in the camp. and the mortality is terrible,
so we have to get out of there. i do want to spend a couple minutes on trying to convince you of this notion that a harder war, a shift of war in earnest means war not just on the battlefield, it means war, too, and congress recognizes that. in the 37th congress, second session, i have always thought that if there had not been a war going on, everybody would know about this congress because it would have been the most amazingly productive congress in the history of congresses. just the notion of congress getting this much done in a single session would drop all of our jaws. but of course, there's a war going on, that's more exciting, so we know more about that. what does this congress do? it passes a homestead act. it gives 160 acres of land, free, except for a $5 filing fee, public land, usually in the west, to any head of household. listen to that.
head of household. did i say male? nope. did i say citizen? nope, did i say white? nope. so the homestead act is truly radical. there are all kinds of problems with it. and who is on that land and all that stuff. there are enormous problems with it that will becomeeft whkcome n the war is over. it's a radical act. >> a little bit before that? >> 160 acres of land, what is called a quarter section, 160 acres of land. free of charge except for a $5 filing fee to any head of household, it could be male, female, might be citizen, immigrant, could be white, could be black. and that's yours if you can live on it and improve it, which means build a structure for five years. and so you pay the filing fee but not the cost of the land. because to get yourself there, living there for five years, is
no small feat. that's what i mean, and there are other people who think the land belongs to them, namely native americans. there's all kinds of problems with it. but just the idea that you can get this act passed, essentially giving united states land to people who we weren't paying a lot of attention to before the war started, is remarkable. same congress gets the college act passed. if you live in a state that has more than one public university and the second one is something state, that probably came into existence thanks to the moral land grant college act. it allows for the sale of certain public lands, the revenue of which would fund a public university, specifically or especially for technological. but this congress passed the trons continental railroad act. it would be a private pri
partnership, but essentially, the u.s. congress is going to subsidize the correction of a railroad all the way to the pacific coast. this congress established the department of agriculture, no such thing until this congress. they passed the legal tender act, greenbacks, bills, money that could be recognized as money. we talked about how crazy finances are, north and south, before the war. if you're a bank and want to print your own money, you can do it, whether anyone takes it or not, up to them. legal tender acts creates these bills and they're legal tender anywhere. we take it for granted, if i show you a dollar bill and i'm -- i live here in washington, d.c. and you live in california, th r, that duller b should mean the same to all of us, we take that for granted. 37th congress, second session, you like them, you're not going to in a minute. they also bring you the income tax. doesn't last. it goes away after the war and as you know revises later, but
it's the first time we get an income tax. 3% on an income of $600 to $5,000. 5% on $5,000 or later. the higher bracket would later go up to a 10% bracket. that's whitequite a lot, but th the same congress that takes truly noticeable steps against the institution of slavery. as we said, dan, you brought up and we talked about before, there are people on the ground in the union army and certainly slaves themselves who have been urging their elected officials at home to take these steps earlier. this congress starts to take the steps. yes. >> who was the leadership? >> congress, why can they get all -- this is part of why they can get it done? who is not in congress? yeah, right, the -- >> the republican party is not there. >> the southern states are not there.
the northern states are there. and you know, there are still democrats in congress, the republican nominated congress. unmanageable without processions. the democrats themselves after 1862 are internally divided between the war. lincoln's party has a much freer reign. that's why they can get so much done. certainly why they can get as much done on slavery as they do. now, so far, the policy towards slavery has been at the kindest, the kindest thing we could say is ambiguous. there's a sort of one step forward, one step back. three steps sideways kind of characteristic to it up to this point. we saw butler at ft. monroe in may say i'm not giving you your slaves back. i confiscate them. which leaves open actions. it doesn't free them, but it gets them out of their
slaveown slaveowners' hands. in that same year, august of 1861, general freemont in missouri, passes an edict that says, i am emancipating all of the slaves of rebel owners. and that is overturned. now, there are all kinds of reasons for that to be overturned. missouri is still in the union, virginia was not. nonetheless, if you are a soldier, if you are an onlooker, there's a clear contradiction in army policy in 1861. union army encampment, we have seen a reliance on slave labor. yet we have halak issuing general odors number 3, which means no fugitive slaves would be permented to enter the line of any camp or forces on the march and those lines to be excluded there from. we have november of 1861, henry halak, saying all of these sort
of -- all these black labors, former slaves, they're not supposed to be there. again, contradiction. ambiguity because the order is -- it's sort of recognizing the breach wasn't attractive. it drives camps crazy. what are we going to do? but there it is. it's a conundrum, and it's a conundrum that drives soldiers crazy. you have a wisconsin guy writing to his hometown newspaper in the hopes his elected official will read it, saying on this, the government policy makes no more sense than the ancient oracles. lincoln will say one thing to congress, another thing to appease the border states, and in the armor, every general does whatever he pleases. as far as he's concerned and telling his lereaders at home, e only policy that made sense was direction action against slavery because that's the only way to win the war. well, 37th congress, second session, does begin to take
direct action. the first thing they do, january of 1862, they overturn the craytonden ruz lesiesolution. it was passed in the first weeks of the war. and in that, they said we're not going to deal with slavery. congress overturned the resolutions says we don't mean it anymore. march of 1862, congress answered that general orders number 3 by saying the army doesn't return fugitive slaves. also, as of march 1862, the army will not guard civilian property. congress also grants diplomatic recognition to the republics of haiti and liberia, blackinati ns that existed before that, obviously, but had never been granted diplomatic resolution by the united states. in april of 1862, congress
abolished slavery in the district of columbia, also opened public schools to black children. we see in the first quarter, i guess, of 1862, for a third of 1862, some definite motion against slavery on the part of congress. now, there are still cautionary notes. we still have general george mcclellan saying any declaration of radical views, especially on the slavery question, will rapidly disant great these armies. and he's out of step and almost everybody except mcclellan knows it. well, almost everybody in the army, not everybody at home. and congress, so july, july 17th of 1862, congress passed a second act. second confiscation act is important, because the first act, remember, has said that it essentially made a law out of butler's policy, that any slaves actively used in support of the rebellion were confiscated from
their owner, if they weren't their owner's property anymore, but it didn't answer the status question. the didn't say are they property of the federal government or free? itsay. the second confiscation act does say. july 1862 not only can slaves be used in active support of the rebellion be confiscated, any slave of any disloyal owner can. so whether or not you were using that slave to build a ditch, if you support the confederacy, the slave can be confiscated and freed. second confiscation act says freed. it's a big step. in july of 1862, lincoln aggressively lobbied the delegation of congressmen from the border states to adopt gradual emancipation plans within their state legislature so he goes to delaware, well, delegations from delaware, missouri, maryland and kentucky, and says here is a plan. you will have federal support. we'll help reimburse you even but you need to get your state
legislatures to pass it. all the delegations turn him down. he presents this plan to them on july 12th, they turn him down on july 13th. second confiscation act, july 17th, july 23rd of 1862, lincoln meets with his cabinet. what does he show them in this meeting of july 23, 1862. got something up my sleeve. what is it? the emancipation proclamation. exactly. famously, william stewart convinces lincoln that he needs to wait until a union victory as the moment for unrolling the emancipation proclamation so it did not look like a desperate gasp and lincoln agrees. which sounded like a good idea at the time but as you know, union victories were sort of slow in coming in 1862. summer or early fall of 1862 we're looking particularly discouraging. confederate armies were preparing for northern incursions in ohio and even
pennsylvania in the summer of '62. the confederate army was playing havoc with union supply lines in the west, particularly in tennessee. in virginia, the news just stayed bad for the union. army kept losing to the army of northern virginia at places like caesar mountain and chantilly. in fact, they lost enough that lincoln got desperate enough to give mcclellan another chance so restored mcclellan to command primarily to ward off invasion of pennsylvania which looked imminent in the summer of 1862. on september 5th an aide discovered copies of general lee's orders in maryland and those orders reveal that confederate forces were divided. this would seem to be the golden moment to strike. well, what do you know about mcclellan.
he is slow and they were cute, in september of 1862 he delayed, he was able to reunite his forces on the bank of an eat the up creek and the armies met there in 1862. on that date 6,000 soldiers are killed and 17,000 were wounded, missing. 23,000 acasualties in a single day, that retains the distinction of being the bloodiest battle in terms of american lives lost in a single day in u.s. history. but, the confederate invasion goes back to virginia, so if you're lincoln and you're desperate for a victory, this will work because union forces hold the field of battle at the end of the day, text book victory, but more important this invasion has been repelled so it's a victory in that sense or at least it will due.
and so, on september 22nd of 1862, lincoln issued the preliminary emancipation proclamation which said that as of january 1st, 1863, the slaves of any areas still in rebellion against the government of the united states would be henceforth and forever freed. the preliminary proclamation also joyce, in response to your earlier point, also suggests voluntary colonization as a possible sort of answer to what might we do next. it doesn't mandate but suggests as a possible answer. january 1, 1863, the final proclamation does follow up, all slaves in areas still in rebellion with a few sort of exceptions here and there, but in general, slaves in areas of rebellion are freed as of january 1. there is no mention of colonization, in the final proclamation and the final proclamation explicitly endorsed the army of black union soldiers. i want to talk about this
document, the emancipation proclamation. i think few documents in american history have had quite as strange a career as the emancipation proclamation. depending on who and when you ask this single piece of paper either destroyed slavery with the stroke of a pen, or it was the most useless document ever that didn't free a single slave, it has all of the moral grandure of a bill of lading. did you have a question? so, how do we assess. not to mention there is now an enormous mythology around the emancipation proclamation. my oldest son has a place mat with the emancipation proclamation. how can we make judicious sense of the significance of this document. well, in many ways it was a limited document. emancipation was claimed as a war power, that could apply only
in areas -- only to areas in rebellion. so what's exempted. well, the border states. four states of the union legally recognized slavery, those are not affected because they are not in rebellion. so, you know, practically limited where in terms of -- it's also limited in the sense that it describes emancipation instrumental pragmatic terms. it's a military necessity as opposed to a moral gesture, as opposed to a righting of wrongs. the final proclamation does mention the matter of justice but by and large very utilitarian document. so i think we need to acknowledge that it is limited, it doesn't single-handedly free 4 million people. yet i still think it's important and there are reasons why i think that. i think the proclamation did change the character of the war. i think it's not an accident we see it in 1862 because after the proclamation it's impossible to
see the war as limited, any union coming after this proclamation is going to be union without slavery and the union has slavery in 1861. remember that lincoln's early political fame grew from a speech in which he said that the united states could not endure half slave or half free. it would become one or the other. it points to which way. finally, the union army would enforce the emancipation proclamation. this one does matter a lot, i think, because it made the union army in effect what so many of its members had been trying to be for some time and that is a bludgeon against slavery wherever it went. so i think that the best way to think about the proclamation is certainly not as the single magic bullet that did away with the institution of slavery in one fell swoop but also not as a sort of begrudging worthless gesture. i think the best way to think
about it really is one step but one important step in a long complicated process of destroying what was a powerful institution. no single document could do it in one fell swoop. this helped. it didn't do all of it. that's what i think. we'll -- it's one of the things we talk about friday is what do you think and i expect robust disagreement with me on that score. don't disappoint me. what did people think at the time, though, that's important. and what they thought varied. the union homefront was very divided on the measure. there certainly was hostility to the emancipation proclamation, essentially among the peace democrats. they didn't want this war to begin with, certainly not a war that was going to change the world as they knew it. there is a lot of hostility on their part to the emancipation proclamation. there's a lot of hostility on the part of just ordinary white northerners who don't know what should come next. although i think that we have overestimated some of the
hostility hostilities to the proclamation itself. i think we completed and this goes to your question, joyce, to the proclamation, but also in the summer of 1862 and early fall the union army starts at government expense shipping loads of slave refugees into midwestern communities just in time for the midterm elections of 1862. lincoln is usually a politically astute guy, it's rare that he makes a political misstep. that kind of is one in terms of timi timing. it excites a lot of hostility to the idea of the refugees coming into our communities and people are up in arms about that. that may or may not be the same thing as opposing the emancipation proclamation but there certainly is a divided northern union public. among union soldier there is is some resistance and opposition. by and large what you see is it's about time, this is what we've been telling youfo