Emancipation Proclamation Political Cartoons

Political Cartoons – Emancipation Proclamation

Click on the links below to download the political cartoons and the box analysis form.

us history emancipation proclamation political cartoons

box model analysis template

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Civil War: The First Confiscation Act of 1861


Click on the link below to download the primary source document: First Confiscation Act of 1861.

us history first confiscation act

Note: The First Confiscation Act of 1861 was passed in response to the many slaves escaping to the front lines, the Union Army issued this act to provide a rationale for the freedom of these men and women.

Excerpt from the First Confiscation Act of 1861: “Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That if, during the present or any future insurrection against the Government of the United States, after the President of the United States shall have declared, by proclamation, that the laws of the United States are opposed, and the execution thereof obstructed, by combinations too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings, or by the power vested in the marshals by law, any person or persons, his, her, or their agent, attorney, or employé, shall purchase or acquire, sell or give, any property of whatsoever kind or description, with intent to use or employ the same, or suffer the same to be used or employed, in aiding, abetting, or promoting such insurrection or resistance to the laws, or any person or persons engaged therein; or if any person or persons, being the owner or owners of any such property, shall knowingly use or employ, or consent to the use or employment of the same as aforesaid, all such property is hereby declared to be lawful subject of prize and capture wherever found; and it shall be the duty of the President of the United States to cause the same to be seized, confiscated, and condemned.”

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1856 Republican Party Platform

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Campaign leaflet critical of the new Republican Party.

The primary argument over the future of slavery did not revolve around abolition, but rather the expansion of slavery in the West. The Republican Party took a staunch position against the expansion of slavery.

Excerpt from the 1856 Republican Party Platform:”…..Resolved: That, with our Republican fathers, we hold it to be a self-evident truth, that all men are endowed with the inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and that the primary object and ulterior design of our Federal Government were to secure these rights to all persons under its exclusive jurisdiction; that, as our Republican fathers, when they had abolished Slavery in all our National Territory, ordained that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, it becomes our duty to maintain this provision of the Constitution against all attempts to violate it for the purpose of establishing Slavery in the Territories of the United States by positive legislation, prohibiting its existence or extension therein. That we deny the authority of Congress, of a Territorial Legislation, of any individual, or association of individuals, to give legal existence to Slavery in any Territory of the United States, while the present Constitution shall be maintained.

Resolved: That the Constitution confers upon Congress sovereign powers over the Territories of the United States for their government; and that in the exercise of this power, it is both the right and the imperative duty of Congress to prohibit in the Territories those twin relics of barbarism–Polygamy, and Slavery.

Resolved: That while the Constitution of the United States was ordained and established by the people, in order to “form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty,” and contain ample provision for the protection of the life, liberty, and property of every citizen, the dearest Constitutional rights of the people of Kansas have been fraudulently and violently taken from them….”

Click on the link below to download the primary source document:

Republican Party Platform of 1856


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Frederick Douglass: Sudden Revolution in Northern Thought (1861) Primary Source Document

Primary Source Document: Sudden Revolution in Northern Thought (1861)

Douglass addresses the complicated situation of abolitionists during the Civil War.

Excerpt: “But what a change now greets us! The Government is aroused, the dead North is alive, and its divided people united. Never was a change so sudden, so universal, and so portentous. The whole North, East and West is in arms. Drums are beating, men are enlisting, companies forming, regiments marching, banners are flying, and money is pouring into the national treasury to put an end to the slaveholding rebellion.”

Click on link below to download the full primary source document:

us history douglass on abolitionists during the Civil War

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Civil War Letter: U.S. General Butler expresses his concern over escaping slaves (1861)

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A letter from U.S. Commanding General of the Army regarding his concern for the large number of escaping slaves.

us history primary source letter gen butler escaping slaves

“…..Up to this time I have had come within my lines men and women with their children–entire families–each family belonging to the same owner.  I have therefore determined to employ, as I can do very profitably, the able-bodied persons in the party, issuing proper food for the support of all, and charging against their services the expense of care and sustenance of the non- laborers, keeping a strict and accurate account as well of the services as of the expenditure having the worth of the services and the cost of the expenditure determined by a board of Survey hereafter to be detailed.  I know of no other manner in which to dispose of this subject and the questions connected therewith…..”

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Prince Hall Advocates for the Abolition of Slavery (1797) Primary Source Document

Prince Hall addresses the African Masonic Lodge in Cambridge, Massachusetts to advocate for the abolition of slavery in the United States,  including the extension of civil rights to Free African Americans.

Click on link below to download primary source document: Prince Hall Speaks To The African Lodge


“It is now five years since I delivered a charge to you on some parts and points of masonry. As one branch or superstructure of the foundation, I endeavored to show you the duty of a mason to a mason, and of charity and love to all mankind, as the work and image of the great God and the Father of the human race. I shall now attempt to show you that it is our duty to sympathise with our fellow-men under their troubles, and with the families of our brethren who are gone, we hope, to the Grand Lodge above…..

My brethren, let us not be cast down under these and many other abuses we at present are laboring under,—for the darkest hour is just before the break of day. My brethren, let us remember what a dark day it was with our African brethren, six years ago, in the French West Indies. Nothing but the snap of the whip was heard, from morning to evening. Hanging, breaking on the wheel, burning, and all manner of tortures, were inflicted on those unhappy people. But, blessed be God, the scene is changed. They now confess that God hath no respect of persons, and therefore, receive them as their friends, and treat them as brothers. Thus doth Ethiopia stretch forth her hand from slavery, to freedom and equality.”

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Slavery Distribution in Southern States Prior to the U.S. Civil War

Slavery Distribution in Southern States Prior to U.S. Civil War


Link to Slavery map located at Library of Congress site.



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