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tv   Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation Exhibit  CSPAN  August 15, 2014 8:12pm-8:21pm EDT

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louis, martin luther king possible at her from birmingham jail, the bombing of the 16th street baptist church, and more, next friday. union victory at antietam in 1862, president abraham lincoln wrote an order freeing all slaves in the states rebelling against the union, known as the preliminary emancipation proclamation. it's the only surviving copy of the document written in president lincoln's on hand. c-span got a look at the new york state exhibit on the proclamation. he begins, i, abraham lincoln, president of the united states of america and commander in chief of the army and navy thereof, do hereby proclaim and declare that hereafter and , the war will be prosecuted for the object of practically restoring the constitutional relation between
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the united states and each of the states and the people in which that relation is or may be suspected or disturbed. if they did not return to the then, he would in 1863 free enslaved people, enslaved in the states in rebellion. wanted toy, lincoln figure out a way to have a strong legal argument to support emancipation. and by focusing the emancipation proclamation on the states in rebellion, he was able to make it a matter of his extraordinary powers in war as president. he made an important political decision, because there were slaves in the states that were controlled by the union, and territories controlled by the union. proclamationion
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concerns those in the states in rebellion. i was part of lincoln strategy, to have a strong legal foundation for issuing the emancipation proclamation, and part of his strategy to make unionhe public in the understood he was acting based on the need to win the civil war. out of what is powerful about the document is that it is not particularly poetic. when you read it, it is written entirely legalistic prose, different from the gettysburg address or the second inaugural address, where you really see poetry toing almost convey a message. this document is much more legalistic, because lincoln understood it might be subject to legal challenge, and that part of what he was trying to do was demonstrate that he was fromg with legal authority his war powers. and so he needed the document to
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read in that legalistic way. one of the things i want to point out about the document -- one is that you have the power of seeing the document in lincoln's on hand. you have the places where lincoln crossed out text and replaced it with other text. originally, he was describing the executive government of the united states will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons. so he crossed out "during the continuance in offense of the present incumbent. " making aee lincoln judgment about how he wanted to characterize a commitment being made in this document. over here, you have places where pasted actually cut and text from the confiscation act. over the wordust
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ninth, at you have what looks to be fingerprints, which we assume is lincoln's fingerprint as a result of the paste he used to attach those excerpts to the document. at the end, you can see abraham lincoln's signature, as well as the signature of the secretary of state. powerfulsomething very about being so close to a was created by lincoln, this heroic figure in american history. the other thing that is powerful about the document, i think, at this moment in american history, trajectory,ws the the trajectory of american history that begins with the declaration of independence, and this assertion of equality, which was not reflected in the reality of the time. you have the course of american
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history, where there is this evolution, where slavery is ultimately abolished, where african men at first are given the right to vote. the women are given the right to vote. you have the civil rights movement, which is also highlighted in the exhibit. you have the trajectory of american history. it is powerful to see the preliminary emancipation proclamation as part of that trajectory, fulfillment of at least part of the promise of the declaration of independence. giveneech by dr. king was 100 years after the preliminary emancipation proclamation to honor the centennial of the document. in the speech, king talks about the need to fulfill the promise of the emancipation proclamation, the need to honor the notion of emancipation by providing true equality. the speech was given at the sheraton in new york. i am sure there was a lot of energy in the room, but also probably a real awareness on the
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part of people in the room of the gap between the condition of american life and the condition and thean americans, lofty promise of the declaration of independence in the emancipation proclamation. one of my favorite lines -- it is not clear if he actually used this and when he delivered the speech, but it is present in the draft. there is something like, we do not have as much time as the patients that caution would give us. because itline captures the urgency of the moment. it is in such contrast with the rest of the exhibit, in the sense that the emancipation proclamation is thought of as freeing the slaves, but freedom is not real unless you have true equality. that is the point that king is making. the time is late. it has already been 100 years
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since the emancipation proclamation. and yet still african americans do not have the full range of rights and freedoms as other citizens. when king is speaking, that is before the civil rights act and the voting rights act. there is progress that follows that speech. king really is capturing, i think, an important part about american history, and the extent to which america had, even by 1962, not yet fulfilled the promise of the declaration of independence. will believe with conviction we have work to do to fulfill the promise of america, but that all the things that are right with america, that have been accomplished over american history, can be the source of energy that drives us forward and provide greater opportunity for all the citizens.
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>> strong vincent was a pennsylvania attorney who joined the union military at the outbreak of the civil war. an army colonel, he was killed in the battle of gettysburg. c-span spoke with historian william garvey about the life and death of strong vincent. >> this is a great story of a patriot. strong vincent was born around 1837. the family moved in from waterford, the county seat. his family was well-off. father is a successful manufacturer. at age 14, a good example of the kind of person he was -- he decided he had enough of school. he said to his father, i do not want to go to school anymore. i want to be active. i want to be involved.


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