Abraham Lincoln to Horace Greeley, August 22, 1862

Abraham Lincoln, Mathew Brady Studio Image, February 9, 1864, detail
Horace Greeley published an angry open "letter" to President Lincoln in the pages of his newspaper, the New York Tribune, on August 20, 1862. Greeley was upset that Lincoln had not yet begun enforcing the "emancipating provisions" of the new Second Confiscation Act (July 17, 1862). Lincoln responded in the pages of a rival newspaper with his own "letter" to Greeley that sternly laid out the president's policy regarding slavery. Lincoln claimed his "paramount object" in the war was to "save the Union" and not "freeing all the slaves." Yet by that point, Lincoln had already decided (in secret) that the only way he could "save the Union" was to issue an emancipation proclamation following the next major battlefield victory. (By Matthew Pinsker)

Record Data

Source citation
Abraham Lincoln to Horace Greeley, August 22, 1862, in Roy P. Basler, ed., The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln (8 vols., New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1953), 5: 388-389.
Date Certainty
  Transcription adapted from The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln (1953), edited by Roy P. Basler
  Adapted by Don Sailer, Dickinson College


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