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MoSGA Messenger, The Official Blog of the Missouri State Genealogical Association
Serving Missouri ancestor seekers since 7 November 2007

Tom Pearson, Editor

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

DID THE SLAVES FREE THEMSELVES, OR DID THE UNION ARMY FREE THE SLAVES?

It may sound like a “chicken or the egg” argument, but it’s an important debate nonetheless. Scholars on one side argue that slaves, by fleeing to Northern lines when the Union Army passed through Southern states, freed themselves, thus forcing the issue of emancipation on a reluctant Lincoln administration. The other side insists that the Union Army freed the slaves: only those slaves living close by its line of march in fact gained their freedom during the war—-and a Union Army retreat at times meant re-enslavement of slaves who had previously fled to Union lines:

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