Like the First Confiscation Act of August 6, 1861, the Second Confiscation Act of July 17, 1862, authorized the seizure of property owned by disloyal citizens. However, this law expressly called for emancipation of slaves in three cases: fugitive slaves that reached Union lines, slaves that were captured from or deserted by their owners and slaves living on Union-occupied territory that was previously Confederate-occupied territory who would "be forever free of their servitude, and not again held as slaves." This legislative act also gave the president the power to employ African Americans in the suppression of the rebellion, and opened the possibility for voluntary colonization efforts of former slaves. Congress and the president were careful though not to force emancipation on loyal slaveholders in the border states.
Full Transcript of the Second Confiscation Act: Chap. CXCV
Transcribed Excerpts from the Second Confiscation Act: Chap. CXCV
- Use Section 9 of this law to explain the three ways slaves could be emancipated.
- How were border-state slaveholders and their slaves affected by this law?
- How did this law affect the status of fugitive slaves that were previously considered confiscated property and contraband?
- Was emancipation through this act seen as a military or moral act? Use evidence from the law to defend your position.
- What can be inferred about the social and political standing of free African Americans in the United States from Section 12 of this law?
"Chap. CXCV - An act to suppress Insurrection, to punish Treason and Rebellion, to seize and confiscate the Property of Rebels, and for other Purposes," U.S. Congress, pp. 589-592, 17 July 1862. Courtesy of Library of Congress