Letters Suggest Lincoln Wanted to Buy Slaves for $400 Apiece in "Gradual Emancipation"





Barely a year into the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln suggested buying slaves for $400 apiece under a "gradual emancipation" plan that would bring peace at less cost than several months of hostilities.

The proposal was outlined in one of 72 letters penned by Lincoln that ended up in the University of Rochester's archives. The correspondence was digitally scanned and posted online along with easier-to-read transcriptions.

Accompanying them are 215 letters sent to Lincoln by dozens of fellow political and military leaders. They include letters from Vice President Andrew Johnson and Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, who both succeeded Lincoln in the presidency in the 12 years after his assassination in 1865.


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R.R. Hamilton - 3/6/2008

Not to most Civil War historians. IIRC, the "$400 per slave" proposal was even put to a popular vote in Missouri in 1864, but was defeated.