Lincoln's Peace Terms at January 1865 Conference


Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
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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