Enforcement of the Second Act: Lincoln and Bates

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:

Series: Reconstructing America

Enforcement of the Second Act: Lincoln and Bates

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Lincoln acknowledged the importance of the second act in a number of instances in the weeks after its passage. He and Attorney General Edward Bates chose not to implement the law vigorously. The second act proved important before it became law as a threat of change and as a symbol to both slaves and Southerners of what the government could do if it wished to reconstruct the South. There are a number of reasons why the Second Confiscation Act was an imperfect instrument. Congress's expanded role during the war was new and unexpected. Bates's administration of the laws was honest, sincere and careful; it lacked any conviction they were just or useful laws. The problems of implementing confiscation also involved the roles of the military and Treasury Department.

Keywords: Lincoln; Attorney General Edward Bates; Second Confiscation Act; slaves; Southerners; laws; confiscation

Chapter.  8896 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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