HISTORY OF NEGRO CITIZENSHIP. 691
noblest sons. There is now no serious storm cloud low-
ering over her future. There have been since and there
will be again, times of trouble and solicitude; but they
are not sectional, and above all, they are not cancerous.
It is a brief account of America's manhood to which
we invite the reader's attention in the following pages.
It seems to me that the history of this period, so preg-
nant with great events, so destiny-making, has never
been properly written from the right standpoint, and is
very imperfectly understood by the present generation.
During this time the fate of the colored race has been
largely determined, and their history becomes in a great
measure the history of the country. For convenience
it may be well to divide this history into three divisions
of time. The first extends from 1863 to 1867; the sec-
ond, from 1867 to 1876; the third is still incomplete.
PERIOD I. 1863-1867--THE ERA OF UNIVERSAL LIBERTY.
This period begins with Lincoln's Proclamation of
Emancipation, January 1, 1863. This was a military
measure, that is, the authority for issuing it, rested
wholly upon a military necessity, and for this reason
was restricted to those sections of the South, at that
time, in actual armed rebellion. The Constitution of
the United States gives the President no direct author-
ity over domestic slavery; it was a local institution, and
subject only to local regulations; but the President is
Commander-in-chief of the army and Navy; his oath
requires him to preserve the national government. When
it became evident in the course of the war that the ex-
istence of the national government was threatened by
slavery, then there was a clear military necessity that
slavery should be destroyed, and this necessity gave the
President authority to decree its destruction. Had there
been no war, or had it been easily suppressed before the
people had become convinced that slavery was the chief
cause and its continued existence incompatible with the
perpetuation of the federal union, upon which the na-