Seeing the Round Corners

HEADS UP, the new day for Seeing the Round Corners “GOING LIVE” is Tuesday each week. 

August 23, 2022 

Plans change, and last week’s plan to write on pseudoscience and racism is shelved for the time being. Research revealed the subject to be dark and intense and will involve some lengthy research. 

This writer has written many times about Americans trusting their government, and now how here in the 21st Century the media has raised the question again, as the raid on former President Trump’s home in Florida continues to dominate the mainstream news.  

Lincoln’s position on slavery as quoted in his letter to Horace Greeley at the beginning of the December 4, 2017 “column from the archives,” is indeed quite different. Over the years since 1862, slavery has been made into a much different type of issue, a much  greater one than when Lincoln wrote the Emancipation Proclamation. 

Here from present-day perspective, the issue of legality rises just as it did then – Was the Emancipation Proclamation legal?” The Emancipation Proclamation applied to certain states, counties and cities, but not others. The Southern states had already ceded from the Union so technically, Lincoln no longer had authority over them. 

When governments have goals – Lincoln’s was purportedly to save the Union – there’s usually some aspect or consequences that go unrecognized. Most readers forget two European countries, France and England took the position they would not intervene. First, the impact on the world’s source of cotton supply, looked on then as a “general calamity.” When the struggle with France and England became what it did, a crusade against slavery, the two countries took the position that it made European intervention impossible. The reason? Residents of both countries owned slaves. 

Is America’s government honest and truthful with its people? Does it follow its own laws passed by vote of the people? 

December 4, 2017


Lost in all the political rhetoric of Lincoln being the “greatest President” ever, and the “great emancipator,” is what Lincoln’s true goals were when it came to the country. Perhaps the most definitive statement comes from Lincoln’s letter to Horace Greeley:  “. . . my paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and it is not either to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that.”    

Today, slavery has been made into a far greater issue than it was when Lincoln wrote the Emancipation Proclamation, and has been credited as the sole purpose of the Civil War which is far, far from the truth, and reality existing in those days.     

Demonstrative of Lincoln’s position is what most readers fail to understand or recognize about slavery and the Emancipation Proclamation. The Emancipation Proclamation applied to the “States and parts of States wherein the people thereof respectively, are to  this day, in rebellion against the United States, the following, to wit:”

  • Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana (except the Parishes of St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. James, Ascension, Assumption, Terrebonne, Lafourche, St. Mary, St. Martin, and Orleans, (including the City of New Orleans, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Virginia, (except the forty-eight counties designated as West Virginia, and also the counties of Berkley, Accomac, Northhampton, Elizabeth City, York, Princess Ann, and Norfolk, including the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth), and which excepted parts, are for the present, left precisely as if this proclamation were not issued. 

  • “. . . that all persons held as slaves within said designated States, and parts of States, are and henceforth shall be free . . .  .” 

Yes, the Emancipation Proclamation applied to those States and parts of States – NOT to all the United States.    

In looking close from present-day perspective, the question arises, “Was the Emancipation Proclamation even legal.” The Southern states seceded from the Union, and thus, technically, legally, were no longer in the “lines” (borders) over which Lincoln had authority as President of the United States.    

On September 22, 1862, Lincoln issued his Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation which applied to the above-listed states – those in rebellion against the United States – freeing all slaves in those states and creating “An Act to make an additional Article of War,” (approved on March 13, 1862). The Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation also gave the rebellious states the opportunity to rejoin the Union. There were no takers.    

Among other provisions, the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation also provided for freeing of slaves owned by those persons in rebellion against the United States. Those slaves were deemed captives of war, and “shall be free of their servitude and not again held as slaves.”    

Two consequences of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation receive little recognition. First, from an international perspective was the impact that locked up the world’s source of cotton supply, looked on then as a “general calamity.”   

Second, unanticipated by the Confederate government and people was the position taken by the English and French governments – not to intervene in the war. When Lincoln turned the “struggle into a crusade against slavery,” the French and English governments took the position that it made European intervention impossible.    

What also dimmed was Lincoln’s zeal to save the Union at all costs. One has to ask, had the French and English governments went for Lincoln’s goal of saving the Union, would the outcome have been different – would the two countries have joined the south if for no other reason than economics – free up the cotton supply to Europe?    

Although the Emancipation Proclamation prevented French and English intervention on the basis of human freedom (a crusade against slavery), Lincoln took advantage because it “allowed the Union to recruit black soldiers,” to which the response was nearly 180,000 recruits enlisting by the end of the war. Lincoln wrote to James D. Conklin that “the Emancipation Proclamation policy, and the use of colored troupes constitute the heaviest blow yet dealt to the rebellion.”    

This was quite a turnaround from Lincoln’s position stated at the beginning of this column. It is also further demonstration of Lincoln’s ability at political opportunism.


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