Colonization After Emancipation: Lincoln and the Movement for Black Resettlement

Colonization After Emancipation: Lincoln and the Movement for Black Resettlement

Phillip W. Magness, Sebastian N. Page

Language: English

Pages: 178

ISBN: 0826219098

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

History has long acknowledged that President Abraham Lincoln, the Great Emancipator, had considered other approaches to rectifying the problem of slavery during his administration. Prior to Emancipation, Lincoln was a proponent of colonization: the idea of sending African American slaves to another land to live as free people. Lincoln supported resettlement schemes in Panama and Haiti early in his presidency and openly advocated the idea through the fall of 1862. But the bigoted, flawed concept of colonization never became a permanent fixture of U.S. policy, and by the time Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, the word “colonization” had disappeared from his public lexicon. As such, history remembers Lincoln as having abandoned his support of colonization when he signed the proclamation. Documents exist, however, that tell another story.
            Colonization after Emancipation: Lincoln and the Movement for Black Resettlement explores the previously unknown truth about Lincoln’s attitude toward colonization. Scholars Phillip W. Magness and Sebastian N. Page combed through extensive archival materials, finding evidence, particularly within British Colonial and Foreign Office documents, which exposes what history has neglected to reveal—that Lincoln continued to pursue colonization for close to a year after emancipation. Their research even shows that Lincoln may have been attempting to revive this policy at the time of his assassination.
            Using long-forgotten records scattered across three continents—many of them untouched since the Civil War—the authors show that Lincoln continued his search for a freedmen’s colony much longer than previously thought. Colonization after Emancipation reveals Lincoln’s highly secretive negotiations with the British government to find suitable lands for colonization in the West Indies and depicts how the U.S. government worked with British agents and leaders in the free black community to recruit emigrants for the proposed colonies. The book shows that the scheme was never very popular within Lincoln’s administration and even became a subject of subversion when the president’s subordinates began battling for control over a lucrative “colonization fund” established by Congress.
            Colonization after Emancipation reveals an unexplored chapter of the emancipation story. A valuable contribution to Lincoln studies and Civil War history, this book unearths the facts about an ill-fated project and illuminates just how complex, and even convoluted, Abraham Lincoln’s ideas about the end of slavery really were.

Gone With the Wind (75th Anniversary Edition)

Colonization After Emancipation: Lincoln and the Movement for Black Resettlement

The Long Road to Antietam: How the Civil War Became a Revolution

Israel on the Appomattox: A Southern Experiment in Black Freedom from the 1790s Through the Civil War











expectations for the BHC to fulfill. Housing was a must, as with the promise of eventual land-ownership opportunities. Babcock, Menard, and the third unnamed gentleman departed for the United States by different routes, intending to disseminate information about the colony to the black community. The commencement of colonization also appeared imminent, as Governor Seymour officially proclaimed the ports of Boston, New York, and Philadelphia on September 17.12 The fourth member of the party, Keef

agency office for relief and assistance.” Hodge assured Leas that the colonists would be well attended with a dwelling space for each family. The company secured a shipment of lumber for the “construction of houses with wood floors, windows, and elevated three feet from the ground.” Building materials for future houses would be cut on-site at a sawmill also under construction and intended as a place of employment for the initial wave of laborers. Lastly, the company would budget “$500 per annum

president's assent. As to the matter of colonization, Lincoln still gave no answer. Lincoln weathered the Blairs' storm without as much as a single word for his critics. He answered neither the specific challenge of Davis on colonization nor the general complaints from the Radicals. Beyond the claims of their speeches and the knowledge that Lincoln was aware of them, it is difficult to ascertain the degree to which the Blairs still represented the administration in 1864. But it is equally

Proclamation.12 In the 1870s Gideon Welles, Lincoln's former secretary of the navy, penned a series of essays for the Galaxy magazine in which he defended a tempered view of Lincoln's emancipation policy, colonization included.13 Welles specifically cautioned against judging Lincoln's moderate approach to emancipation in hindsight. The sheer complexity of the political problems surrounding the abolition of slavery made it fully comprehensible to only those who were present at the time. Beginning

Negroes,” Journal of Negro History 6 (1919): 7–21; James D. Lockett, “Abraham Lincoln and Colonization: An Episode That Ends in Tragedy at L'Ile a Vache, Haiti, 1863–1864,” Journal of Black Studies 21 (1991): 428–44. 10. Nicolay and Hay, Lincoln: A History, 6:357. Henry J. Raymond, The Life and Public Services of Abraham Lincoln, (New York: Derby and Miller Publishers, 1865), 509. 11. Robert Penn Warren. The Legacy of the Civil War: Meditations on the Centennial. (New York: Random House, 1961),

Download sample