Frémont Attempts to Free Missouri's Slaves

Friday, August 30, 1861

John C. Fremont. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

John C. Frémont, 1856 Republican Party presidential nominee and commander of the Department of the West, issues a proclamation emancipating all Missouri slaves held by rebels or Southern sympathizers. Frémont also declares martial law throughout the state. After Frémont refuses President Abraham Lincoln’s request to change the order so that it frees only slaves formally participating in the Union war effort, Lincoln relieves him of his command.

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