Abe Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation: Interesting Facts

by Kelly R. Smith

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Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation
Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation

Today (September 22) is the anniversary of the day in 1862 when President Abraham Lincoln issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. The intent was to grant the freedom of more than 3 million slaves in the United States. Of course, we all learned this in school, along with other historical facts, such as the accomplishments of Theodore Roosevelt. But, there is more to the picture.

5 Interesting Facts about the Emancipation Proclamation

  • It Didn’t Actually Free All the Slaves. As a matter of fact, the proclamation didn’t even give freedom to a majority of slaves. The document is popularly seen now as an inclusive reform, but in actuality it said that the slaves living in states that were still rebelling as of January 1, 1863, would become free. However, not the slaves residing in states that decided to stop rebelling, or slaves residing in states that had never actively rebelled, or in those in Union territories. It only included those in approximately 10 states that still had an opportunity to cease fighting. However, the Proclamation was a key step towards beginning the emancipation process for all slaves. Baby steps as they say. As time marched on, so did the civil rights movement.
  • The Emancipation Proclamation was Issued Twice. President Lincoln issued the first Emancipation Proclamation on September 22nd of 1862. It specified that if the states in the south didn’t deist from rebelling by January 1st of 1863, then the Proclamation would go into effect. But the Confederacy did not yield. Therefore, Honest Abe issued the final version of the Proclamation on January 1st of 1863.
  • The Proclamation Wasn’t Technically a Law. You didn’t see that coming, did you? It was actually an order, not a law, and “technically” didn’t stop slavery. States that were Union-friendly got to keep slaves according to the details of the Proclamation (recall that it focused on rebel states). But Lincoln pushed for the proclamation and the end of slavery to be made law. The result was the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. This passed in 1865 and ended slavery in all the states. Steady progress; as the Irish say, “The road to Heaven is well signposted, but it’s badly lit at night,” meaning that life has many challenges in store for us but the reward is well worth it.
  • It Allowed Blacks to Join the Union Armed Forces. A detail in the Emancipation Proclamation that never get a lot of attention in history class is that it opened the door to allowing Blacks join the military. Blacks had already started fighting in a variety of ways. Many were in the Confederate forces in the role of slaves. In 1861, Congress passed the First Confiscation Act. This act gave freedom to all the slaves in the Confederate military, whether as soldiers or workers. Next, during 1862, all-Black regiments loyal to the Union were formed. By the time the war was over, more than 200,000 Blacks would serve in the Union Army and Navy.


President Abraham Lincoln considered the Emancipation Proclamation the most important and transformative part of his legacy. He said, “I never, in my life, felt more certain that I was doing right, than I do in signing this paper. If my name ever goes into history it will be for this act, and my whole soul is in it.”


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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

Theodore Roosevelt: The Man in the Arena

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Theodore Roosevelt building the Panama Canal
Theodore Roosevelt building the Panama Canal

On April 23, 1910, Theodore Roosevelt gave a moving speech at the Sorbonne in Paris. It was titled the “Citizenship in a Republic” speech but the real takeaway, what it is famous for, is what is now known as Theodore Roosevelt’s “Man in the Arena” quote.

The speech was well-attended. Edmund Morris, in his biography Colonel Roosevelt, tells us, the crowd included “ministers in court dress, army and navy officers in full uniform, nine hundred students, and an audience of two thousand ticket holders.” The quote has become for some a daily affirmation, that is, said habitually on a daily basis. The quote is:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Teddy Roosevelt’s Accomplishments and Highlights

  • He devised the domestic Square Deal program which had three basic ideas known as the “three C’s”: conservation of natural resources, control of corporations, and consumer protection.
  • Working with Army Colonel Leonard Wood, Roosevelt formed the 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry. Known as the Rough Riders, their greatest victory came at the Battle of San Juan Hill, which was the decisive battle of the war.
  • Following the assassination of President William McKinley in September 1901, at 42 years of age he became the 26th President of the United States. As of 2015 he remains the youngest person to assume the office of the President of U.S.
  • In 1902 by the United Mine Workers of America engaged in a strike that threatened the home heating supplies of tens of millions of Americans. President Roosevelt rolled up his sleeves and organized a fact-finding commission. He then threatened to use the U.S. Army to mine the coal and take over the mines. He convinced both the miners and the mine owners to accept the findings of the commission. The strike was suspended and never resumed. The miners got a 10% increase in wages and their working hours were set from 10 to 9 and as a concession to the owners, they didn’t have to recognize the trade union as a bargaining agent from that point on.
  • He imposed railroad regulation by pushing through the Elkins Act of 1903 and the Hepburn Act of 1906 to curb monopolistic power of the railroads.
  • He directed his Attorney General Philander Knox to bring a lawsuit on antitrust grounds against what was known as the “Beef Trust” that monopolized half or more of beef sales in the country. As the trial progressed it was shown that the “Big Six” leading meatpackers had formed a conspiracy to fix prices and divide the meat market among themselves resulting in higher profits.
  • He directed Congress to pass the Pure Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act, in 1906. The first banned food and drugs and medicine that were not pure or labelled falsely from being manufactured, sold, and shipped. It also mandated that active ingredients be placed on the label of a drug’s packaging and that drugs couldn’t go below the purity levels established by the U.S. Pharmacopeia. This was a huge win for consumers and reduced the likelihood of getting taken in by a scam.
  • He championed the conservation movement. The intention was to protect natural resources inclusive of animal, fungus, and plant species as well as their habitat for the future. He was the first president to put conservation far up on the national agenda. Roosevelt set aside and designated more Federal land for national parks and nature preserves than all prior presidents combined. He went on to establish the US Forest Service. It was signed into law and allowed for the creation of 5 National Parks and established the first 51 Bird Reserves and 150 National Forests.
  • Under his direction the Panama Canal was constructed. At first Colombia controlled Panama and objected to U.S. involvement. Roosevelt sent war ships to block the sea lanes from Colombia and insured that Panama got its independence.

It is clear that Theodore Roosevelt was a visionary, a man of action who stood up for American citizens, and protected their rights. His sense of what we should all strive for is encapsulated in his The Man in the Arena quote. We would all do well to focus on it habitually.



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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

The Sad Demise of Michelle and Barack Obama’s Legacy

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Article updated on 02/28/20

A presidential legacy is a term that is often bandied about as an indicator as to what kind of impact the president had on society and global policy. This is also true, albeit to lesser extent, with first ladies and their “pet projects.”

For most presidents the jury remains out for a while, sometimes as long as a decade, in order to give the dust time to settle. But with the Obamas, it began happening almost overnight. There is no way to sugar-coat this—the initiatives were bold but they were doomed to failure due to being ill-conceived or outright counter-American values.

One problem is that Barry Obama never really had any real world experience to prepare him for office. Even the most lowly congressional aide knows that the president of the United States doesn’t bow to a Saudi king.

Or deliver pallets of cash to the Iranians like some mafioso, just to avoid banking channels and legitimate procedure.

Even had he been the best community organizer in that economic crackerjack city of Chicago, that doesn’t really qualify as the executive experience that a job such as the Presidency demands. And nothing he did was even original; it was mostly cobbled together from the ideas of his mentor Frank Marshall Davis and Saul Alinsky both avowed communists or socialists.

If it can be called a component of a legacy, the establishment of a highly-effective shadow government was brilliant. His loyal civil servant followers continue to soldier on long after that last trip on the tax-payer’s dime.

And Michelle? Meh. She may have been a competent lawyer, who knows? But for someone to utter, “This is the first time I have been proud of my country,” only after she has landed the fattest plum of a spousal job on the planet? Oy vey! What a total lack of decorum.


Barack Obama’s Failed Programs

Although Obama delved into many social and economic experiments consistent with his progressive agenda, only three have the dubious honor of taking center stage.

For example, venturing into the clean energy game might have been a laudable goal but doing it with no real scientific justification and rolling the dice with taxpayer money was just a bad move; there is no other way to put it. Remember Solendra? They left taxpayers liable for $535 million in federal guarantees. This kind of speculative investment is best left to the private sector because they can conduct business much more effectively and realistically.

The next failed initiative is Obamacare. Granted that it’s inception was perhaps done with the best of intentions, but it was unworkable from the beginning. Now it is collapsing under it’s own weight; the last of the huge insurance companies are bailing and Grandma can’t afford her meds.

Finally, the Iran deal brokered by John Kerry was doomed to failure from the get-go. This was a bad deal and it resonates with the Neville Chamberlain mindset when dealing with Hitler—you know; just give them a bit of appeasement and life is good. It’s not playing out so well with the emboldened Iranians now that they have cash-in-hand and an Obama absolution for all things done.

Obama’s Transgressions Just Keep On Coming

Unlike past ex-presidents, Obama hasn’t had the good grace to bow out and let the new president go about his business. He keeps his hand in it, partially some think by guiding his own shadow government with the help of his old allies and minions who are still in government employ (and are the prime suspects of carefully-planned leaks under the Trump administration).

It turns out that it is a two-edged sword. Yes, he can continue as a radical organizer on a grand scale to try to topple Trump but it also keeps him under public scrutiny. His misdeeds keep surfacing.

  • Sam Westrop of the Middle East Forum tells us that following the civil war in Sudan, ” The Obama administration approved a grant of $200,000 of taxpayer money to an al-Qaeda affiliate in Sudan — a decade after the U.S. Treasury designated it as a terrorist-financing organization. More stunningly, government officials specifically authorized the release of at least $115,000 of this grant even after learning that it was a designated terror organization.”

Michelle Obama’s Failed Legacy

Michelle Obama had a laudable goal of getting American children in shape and eating right. The problem is that she approached it too scientifically and in too much of a heavy-handed manner.

Schoolchildren would hardly eat the industrial slop they were fed to begin with, but at least it was things they liked such delicacies as pizza, burgers, fries, etc. When all of this was replaced with “healthy” industrial slop the kids rebelled and most of the victuals ended up in the trash.

She also failed to take into account that kids that participated in after-school activities like sports and cheerleading were running on empty when expected to perform since they were not allowed to pack snacks on school property; many schools were instructed to frisk the kids and to dispose of “unauthorized” food items, leaving the parent’s wishes completely out of the loop.

Her stance today is summed up as, in her words, “So consumers out there – again, I don’t care where you’re from, what your party is – I would be highly insulted by that thought. ‘You want to talk about nanny state and government intervention? Well, you just buy the food and be quiet. You don’t need to know what’s in it.’ That’s essentially what a move like this is saying to you, mom. They think you don’t care because what they hear from are the people who want their kids to eat whatever they want to eat.”

Her legacy on this issue is doomed because parents don’t want to be preached to, don’t want to be told that the government does not approve of the way they handle their private and personal family relationships.

Barack and Michelle Obama's failed accomplishments
Barack and Michelle Obama’s failed accomplishments

The Bottom Line

The joint Obama legacy will not likely be one that is a long time in the making. Just five months into a new administration all these lofty ambitions have crumbled into the footnotes of history. Is this good or bad? That is your decision to make, dear reader.


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Visit Kelly’s profile on Pinterest.


About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.






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About the author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation and financial and energy trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.


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