By Russell Freedman
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Extra resources for Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass: The Story Behind an American Friendship
Handing his calling card to a clerk, he stumbled on a spot at the stairway resulting in Lincoln's place of work and sat down, ready to attend. Secretary of warfare Edwin M. Stanton. He supported equivalent remedy for all squaddies. “The stairway used to be crowded with applicants,” he recalled. “Some of them regarded keen; and i've without doubt a few of them had a goal in being there, and desired to see the President for the great of the rustic! They have been white; and as i used to be the one darkish spot between them, I anticipated to need to wait not less than part an afternoon; I had heard of fellows ready per week. ” inside mins, despite the fact that, certainly one of Lincoln's assistants seemed and referred to as out, “Mr. Douglass! ” As Douglass used to be escorted up the crowded stairway, “pressing and elbowing my manner through,” he heard an individual grumble, “Yes, rattling it! I knew they'd allow the nigger via. ” Douglass was once ushered into the president's easily offered workplace. Books and papers have been strewn approximately all over. Lincoln was once seated in a low armchair, his lengthy legs attaining into “different elements of the room. ” As Douglass entered, “the President started to upward push, and he persevered emerging until eventually he stood over me. ” either males have been surprisingly tall for his or her time, yet Lincoln rose above Douglass via a great 3 inches. He reached out to shake Douglass's hand. “Mr. Douglass, i do know you,” he stated. “I have examine you, and Mr. Seward [the secretary of country] has informed me approximately you.... take a seat, i'm joyful to determine you. ” Douglass had criticized Lincoln critically long ago, and he wasn't yes how he may be acquired. The president's pleasant demeanour quick placed him comfortable. With “an earnestness and a fluency which I had now not expected,” Lincoln defended his wartime regulations. His critics claimed that he took too lengthy to make judgements. they'd attacked him for being “tardy” and “hesitating” approximately emancipation and enlisting black troops. Lincoln said that every now and then he may be sluggish to behave. He had hesitated to push for definite guidelines whilst he believed that “the kingdom was once now not but prepared. ” yet as soon as he had taken a place, he insisted, “I have by no means retreated from it. ” Lincoln's Order of Retaliation for the accomplice abuse of black prisoners was once an instance. “The nation wanted conversing as much as on that point,” he stated. Had he issued the order any faster, “such was once the kingdom of well known prejudice that an outcry may were raised opposed to the degree. ” “Remember this, Mr. Douglass,” Lincoln further. fresh battles within which black squaddies had exceptional themselves for bravery “were essential to arrange the best way” for the coverage of retaliation. As Douglass recalled the dialog, Lincoln wasn't fairly ok with that policy—“a bad treatment, very tricky to use. ” He had no challenge retaliating opposed to a accomplice soldier who was once to blame of murdering or enslaving a black prisoner. however the coverage of executing a guy for a criminal offense devoted by means of another person used to be not easy for Lincoln to simply accept, and whereas the coverage could be useful, he was once reluctant to implement it.
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