Standing Upon a Volcano: Cincinnati’s Newspapers Debate Emancipation, 1860–1862
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Newspaper editors in Cincinnati saw the abolition question on a spectrum before President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in September 1862. Most favored some form of confiscation of Confederate slaves for use in the Union war effort; some favored emancipation of slaves as a means to weaken the Confederacy; but almost all vociferously opposed any idea that unrestrained black freedom might be an outcome of the Civil War. While it appears to historians that there was an “inexorable logic” in the development of Union war aims, it is clear from the point of view of Cincinnati that the inexorability of that logic was heavily contested.