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President Abraham Lincoln, Signing statement for the Bill to Abolish Slavery in the District of Columbia

Abraham Lincoln, Brady image, 1863, detail
President Lincoln signed the bill to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia and attached this communication addressed to the Congress that expressed his satisfaction with their actions. He stated that he had long wished this outcome and that he was pleased that the bill contained provisions for both compensation for owners and colonization for freed slaves. The bill had faced a bitter and partisan battle in the Congress and many felt it a serious distraction from the task of saving the Union. (By John Osborne)