Chapter

The Second Confiscation Act: The Act and Its Opponents

John Syrett

in The Civil War Confiscation Acts

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print April 2005 | ISBN: 9780823224890
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823240852 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fordham/9780823224890.003.0002

Series: Reconstructing America

The Second Confiscation Act: The Act and Its Opponents

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By December 1861 there were several indications in the North that some form of confiscation, mostly related to slavery, had gained public support. On December 9, Trumbull introduced the Second Confiscation Act. Several other Republicans followed suit with their own confiscation bills while other members of the party urged caution. Opponents of the second act offered a pessimistic vision of what the South would become if confiscation were implemented. Their bleak assessment derived in part from the promise made by a few Republicans that confiscated land would go to freedmen and Union soldiers and in part from the Southern fear about confiscation. The confiscation debates often focused on the constitutionality of secession. This issue was integral to any definition of the war, and therefore to Reconstruction. Many argued that the Union was a compact in which each state was free to dissolve the bond at its pleasure.

Keywords: Second Confiscation Act; Republicans; North; South; slavery; confiscation; secession; Reconstruction; Union

Chapter.  7334 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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