Bad Comparison: Executive Action in War vs. Peace

Quoting from the Emancipation Proclamation itself: ” all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free  …   And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution, upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind, and the gracious favor of Almighty God.” (my emphasis)

In other words, Lincoln’s executive action applied only to areas under martial law. It did not free the slaves in the border states that were loyal to the union (they do not appear in the list of states and parts thereof that are in a state of rebellion). Because military necessity requires quick decisions, presidents have a lot more authority when it comes to war than in times and areas of peace.


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