Portrait of Ohio Congressman John A. Bingham

Ohio Congressman John A. Bingham crafted the language of a bill entitled An Act to Confiscate Property Used for Insurrectionary Purposes, more commonly known as the Confiscation Act of 1861, and later as the First Confiscation Act. [Wikimedia Commons]

Confiscation Act of 1861 Facts

August 6, 1861

Key facts about the Confiscation Act of 1861, also known as the First Confiscation Act.

Advertisements
  • The official name of the Confiscation Act of 1861 is An Act to Confiscate Property Used for Insurrectionary Purposes.
  • The Confiscation Act of 1861 is also known as the First Confiscation Act.
  • In late July 1861, Illinois Senator Lyman Trumbull spearheaded an effort in Congress pass what would become the Confiscation Act of 1861.
  • Ohio Congressman John A. Bingham crafted the final language of the Confiscation Act of 1861.
  • The Confiscation Act of 1861 passed both houses of Congress and was signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln on August 6, 1861.
  • The U.S. Senate approved the Confiscation Act of 1861 by a vote of (24 – 11)
  • The U.S. House of Representatives approved the Confiscation Act of 1861 by a vote of (60 – 48).
  • President Lincoln considered vetoing the Confiscation Act of 1861 by a vote because he had reservations about the constitutionality of the law and concerns about upsetting residents of borders states.
  • Democrats and border state politicos opposed the enactment of the Confiscation Act of 1861.
  • The Confiscation Act of 1861 declared fugitive slaves used to wage war against the United States to be contraband of war and it stripped the holders of such slaves of their ownership.
  • The Confiscation Act of 1861 affected only slaves who were captured by federal forces or who escaped behind Union lines.
  • The Confiscation Act of 1861 affected fugitive slaves whose labor directly aided or abetted the Confederate war effort.
  • Legal hassles inherent in determining whether fugitive slaves had or had not directly aided or abetted the Confederate war effort, discouraged some Union military commanders from trying to enforce the Confiscation Act of 1861.
  • Some Union officers chose to ignore the Confiscation Act of 1861 because they were not sympathetic to emancipation or because they did not welcome the added burden of caring for thousands of contrabands while trying to wage war.
  • The Confiscation Act of 1861 left the status of the contrabands in limbo. The act clearly divested the owners of contrabands of their property rights, but it stopped short of explicit emancipation.
Advertisements

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Confiscation Act of 1861 Facts
  • Coverage August 6, 1861
  • Author
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date July 30, 2021
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update February 17, 2021
GET THE BEST OF AMERICAN HISTORY CENTRAL DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX!
SIGN UP
By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to receive news, offers, updates, and additional information from R.Squared Communications, LLC and American History Central. Easy unsubscribe links are included in every email.
CLOSE [X]