On history of War Between the States and slavery

by Wm. Robert Johnston
11 February 2002

Dear Editor:

Some corrections to the historical dates related to slavery in the recent letter to the editor:

First, the Emancipation Proclamation did not free slaves in the north, as was claimed. It was worded to apply only to southern states outside Union occupation.

As a result, slaves were not freed in the four Union slave states until 1865, under the 13th amendment. This is how, for example, Union general Grant owned slaves until 1865.

Slaves in Texas were effectively freed June 19, 1865. This date is celebrated as "Juneteenth."

Slavery in Puerto Rico ended in 1873.

Readers may also be interested in knowing that in March 1865 the Confederacy began a limited emancipation in exchange for military service. At about the same time the Confederacy offered to emancipate all slaves in exchange for recognition by Britain and France. The war ended before any response came.

Also, the letter made no mention of the end of slavery in the eastern hemisphere. That is because slavery exists in some places there today. Children are currently being sold into prostitution in southeast Asia.

In the Sudan and Mauritania, Muslims are raiding black villages and carrying away children as slaves. Since the international community doesn’t much care, it has fallen to private international groups to use donations and buy back whatever children they can and return them home.

It is unfortunate that some Americans worry more about slavery a century gone than about slavery around the world today.

© 2002, 2003, 2008 by Wm. Robert Johnston.
Last modified 27 January 2008.
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