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The D.C. Emancipation Act

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Abraham Lincoln’s draft message to...
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Abraham Lincoln’s draft message to Congress on D.C. Emancipation, Wednesday, April 16, 1862

President Abraham Lincoln expressed his confidence in Congress’s constitutional authority to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia.  He had supported a plan for compensated emancipation in the nation’s capital since his time as a member of Congress in the late 1840s. This draft of his presidential message is in the handwriting of his private secretary, John Nicolay.

Manuscript Division, Library of Congress