David Nichols

David Nichols is an associate professor of political science and director of the Graduate Program at Baylor University.

The Emancipation Proclamation: Abraham Lincoln’s Constitutionally Modest Proposal

Emancipation Proclamation

On July 22, 1862 President Abraham Lincoln presented a plan to his cabinet to issue a proclamation emancipating slaves in all states that remained in rebellion as of January 1, 1863. At the urging of Secretary of State William Seward he decided to wait until the Union could claim a significant military victory before issuing the proclamation.  After the battle of Antietam, on September 22, 1863, he issued his preliminary proclamation which gave the states in rebellion one hundred days to return to the Union or face the permanent loss of their slaves. On January 1, 1863, he followed through…

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So Much Power in So Few Hands: Reevaluating Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation

Professor Nichols urges us to revisit the arguments surrounding the Emancipation Proclamation (EP) for two reasons. The second reason noted is that the “constitutional issues at stake  . . .  are relevant to contemporary American politics.” That’s true enough, especially in light of the ever-expanding powers of the US presidency, the corresponding demise of the…

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A Complicated and Constitutional Act of Liberty and Justice

David Nichols’ comment on Abraham Lincoln’s decision to issue an Emancipation Proclamation on January 1st, 1863, is a perceptive and nuanced appraisal of Lincoln’s path to the proclamation. The principal question with which Nichols has had to deal is how to characterize that decision, and there are at least four ways Nichols could have done…

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