Jefferson Davis, Emancipation (American National Biography)

Paul D. Escott, "Davis, Jefferson," American National Biography Online, February 2000,
The Confederate president's flexibility on slavery and commitment to independence emerged clearly late in the war, when he proposed arming and freeing the South's slaves. It is likely that Davis considered this possibility earlier, but he had hoped to influence the 1864 northern elections and could not afford a well-publicized, divisive debate within the South. After Lincoln's reelection, however, he straightforwardly argued that slavery was less important than independence and that slaves would fight and deserved freedom as a reward. These proposals aroused enormous opposition, but as was usually the case, Davis won Congress's approval for most of his plan.
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