Freedom is a precious thing. Violence, extreme religious fundamentalism, dictators, and oppressive regimes, always try to stamp out freedom but humans still fight to be free. One of my political heroes took a bold step on September 22, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln issued a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, which set a date for the freedom of more than 3 million African American Slaves in the United States and repurposed the Civil War as a fight against slavery and for the values of liberty.
At the beginning of the Civil War Lincoln maintained in his inauguration maintained that the war was about restoring the Union. Yet, in his heart he knew it was about more. He may not have wanted to face that fact but he did. He found slavery repugnant and many in his Republican party wanted him to act sooner. Finally in July 1862, Lincoln informed his cabinet that he would issue an emancipation proclamation but that it would exempt the so-called border states, which had slaveholders but remained loyal to the Union.
It would not be until January 1, 1863, when Lincoln would issue the final Emancipation Proclamation, which declared “that all persons held as slaves” within the rebel states “are, and henceforward shall be free.” Sadly, Lincoln’s handwritten draft of the final Emancipation Proclamation was destroyed in the Chicago Fire of 1871.
Bold leadership is a rare and beautiful thing to witness. After the recent PBS series on the Roosevelts, you realize we have had great leaders who were complicated but who cared deeply for the people of America – especially the underprivileged and disadvantaged. Consider your freedom today. Work on habits that not only enhance your ability to be free but also help you to care for those disadvantaged and battling to enjoy the advantages of freedom.
“Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.” 1 Peter 2:16