Posted by: W. E. Poplaski | October 23, 2008

Weekly Read-Along—October 24, 2008: Opinion on Citizenship of Free Men of Color

Material for the Stout-Hearted Reader to Ruminate

♦ Essays, Lectures & Speeches ♦


Edward Bates (1793 – 1869) was the U.S. Attorney General under President Abraham Lincoln.  He was born in Virginia, but moved to St. Louis, Missouri in 1814. He served as attorney general from 1861 until 1864, then resigned and returned to St Louis. 


This week’s text is Bates’ November 29, 1862 letter to fellow cabinet member, Salmon P. Chase, concerning Bates’ opinion about the citizenship of free men of color in the United States.   Bates’ makes this prescient comment within the essay—“As to the objection…that if a negro can be a citizen of the United States, he might, possibly, become President, the legal inference is true.”


Historical reference points:

  • The U.S. Civil War occurred from 1861 to 1865. 
  • The Emancipation Proclamation happened in two separate presidential orders on September 22, 1962 and January 1, 1863. 
  • Lincoln was re-elected as president by the election held on November 8, 1864.


Join others in this weekly reading event!  You can find the text at this website:;cc=moa;q1=African%20Americans%20–%20Civil%20rights;rgn=subject;view=image;seq=3;idno=aew6575.0001.001;didno=AEW6575.0001.001;page=root;size=s;frm=frameset;

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