-- the First Draft
First draft of the Emancipation Proclamation
Holograph document, July 22, 1862
On July 13, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)
consulted Secretaries William H. Seward and Gideon Welles on the
particulars of the Emancipation Proclamation. Both men were speechless.
Seward anticipated anarchy in the South and perhaps foreign intervention.
Seeing that Welles was even more confused, Lincoln let the matter
rest, but on July 22 he presented this draft proclamation to the
full cabinet. Reaction was mixed. Cabinet secretaries Stanton
and Chase advocated the document's immediate release, but Postmaster
General Montgomery Blair foresaw defeat in the coming fall elections.
Lincoln again abandoned the issue; however, it was clear to his
advisors that his mind was set. There would be an Emancipation
Proclamation at year's end.