We Cannot Escape History
Washington, D.C. December 1, 1862
One month before signing the Emancipation Proclamation, President Lincoln sent a long message to Congress which was largely routine, but also proposed controversial measures such as voluntary colonization of slaves and compensated emancipation.
Lincoln devoted so much attention to preparing the message that his friend David Davis said, "Mr. Lincoln's whole soul is absorbed in his plan of remunerative emancipation." The concluding paragraphs shown below demonstrate Lincoln's passion for this plan and contain some of the most famous statements he ever wrote. Composer Aaron Copland used excerpts in his evocative "Lincoln Portrait." Abraham Lincoln online
Portrait of President Abraham Lincoln. The background scene depicts ships of war. In a New Hampshire Private Collection.