Lincoln's Peace Terms at January 1865 Conference

betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
5,689
#1
The move "Lincoln" shows Lincoln refusing compromise on reunion or slavery at the Hampton Roads Conference. This is not correct, and makes it appear like the Union was more responsible for the failure of the negotiations. It gives the impression that Lincoln was pushing more strongly for an end to slavery than he was.

In fact, Lincoln and Seward insisted on reunion and no recognition of the Confederacy. They offered amnesty and suggested compromises on slavery. At the beginning of the conference, Lincoln referred to the Emancipation Proclamation as a temporary war measure. He suggested that if the southern states rejoined the Union, they could defeat ratification of the Amendment or ratify with the condition that it not take effect for 5 years. He also suggested that the US could provide $400 million to compensate slave owners, about 10% of value. Since these were intial proposals, it is possible that Lincoln would have agreed to say compensating slave owners at 30% of value and ending slavery in 20 years.

Jefferson Davis refused these conditions and falsely reported to the Confederate Congress that the terms offered were insulting, and that Lincoln had asked for reunion, the end of slavery, and the right of the federal government to legislate about racial maters.
 
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stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
2,693
Las Vegas, NV USA
#2
The move "Lincoln" shows Lincoln refusing compromise on reunion or slavery at the Hampton Roads Conference. This is not correct, and makes it appear like the Union was more responsible for the failure of the negotiations. It gives the impression that Lincoln was pushing more strongly for an end to slavery than he was.

In fact, Lincoln and Seward insisted on reunion and no recognition of the Confederacy. They offered amnesty and suggested compromises on slavery. At the beginning of the conference, Lincoln referred to the Emancipation Proclamation as a temporary war measure. He suggested that if the southern states rejoined the Union, they could defeat ratification of the Amendment or ratify with the condition that it not take effect for 5 years. He also suggested that the US could provide $400 million to compensate slave owners, about 10% of value. Since these were intial proposals, it is possible that Lincoln would have agreed to say compensating slave owners at 30% of value and ending slavery in 20 years.

Jefferson Davis refused these conditions and falsely reported to the Confederate Congress that the terms offered were insulting, and that Lincoln had asked for reunion, the end of slavery, and the right of the federal government to legislate about racial maters.

It should be noted that Lincoln must have known that some of these proposals regarding slavery had zero chance of being accepted by the heavily Republican Congress. His own Cabinet would have rebelled led by Stanton. He could have overruled them of course but key members would probably have resigned. Lincoln had been elected but not yet been inaugurated to a second term. I'm not sure why Lincoln was willing to deal on slavery. Perhaps he was worried about a protracted guerrilla style war. The 13th Amendment had just been passed by Congress and was in the hands of the states. There was no way that the administration was going to get the southern states readmitted to vote against it.The fact that Davis didn't even participate means the conference was a complete sham.
 
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Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
7,059
#3
The movie "Lincoln" shows Lincoln refusing compromise on reunion or slavery at the Hampton Roads Conference. This is not correct, and makes it appear like the Union was more responsible for the failure of the negotiations. It gives the impression that Lincoln was pushing more strongly for an end to slavery than he was.

In fact, Lincoln and Seward insisted on reunion and no recognition of the Confederacy. They offered amnesty and suggested compromises on slavery. At the beginning of the conference, Lincoln referred to the Emancipation Proclamation as a temporary war measure. He suggested that if the southern states rejoined the Union, they could defeat ratification of the Amendment or ratify with the condition that it not take effect for 5 years. He also suggested that the US could provide $400 million to compensate slave owners, about 10% of value. Since these were intial proposals, it is possible that Lincoln would have agreed to say compensating slave owners at 30% of value and ending slavery in 20 years.

Jefferson Davis refused these conditions and falsely reported to the Confederate Congress that the terms offered were insulting, and that Lincoln had asked for reunion, the end of slavery, and the right of the federal government to legislate about racial maters.

I don't see what you saying showing that Lincoln.was willing to compromise on the issue of slavery and it's continue existence. Lincoln may have been willing to discuss the issue of compensating slave owners for their former slaves, nothing you said suggest that Lincoln would have been willing to allow slavery to continue, and by 1865, it would have been politically impossible to accept any deal that allowed slavery to continue, too much blood had been spilled to make that acceptable, and the Confederacy was doomed and any rational person knew it. It was only a matter of time before the Union triumphed. While ending slavery had not been a goal at the start of the war, it had become a goal at the end of it, and since slavery was the primary cause of the civil war in the first place, allowing it to continue was a not a feasible option, it would have been too great a betrayal of many who died to end slavery, including those black soldiers who fought for the Union.

Lincoln.might have been willing to compensate slave owners in order to shorten the war, but not on the principle of ending slavery, not when the Union was clearly winning. Lincoln would not have given the South by settlement what they could not achieve by force of arms. To leave the institution of slavery intact would have set the stage for future conflict.
 
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