Portrait of Illinois Senator Lyman Trumbull

Led by Illinois Representative Owen Lovejoy and Illinois Senator Lyman Trumbull (pictured here), members of both houses of Congress began exploring options to strengthen the First Confiscation Act as early as December 1861. On June 28, the Senate approved An Act to suppress Insurrection, to punish Treason and Rebellion, to seize and confiscate the Property of Rebels, and for other Purposes., more commonly known as the Confiscation Act of 1862, and later the Second Confiscation Act. [Wikimedia Commons]

Confiscation Act of 1862 Facts

July 16, 1862

Key facts about the Confiscation Act of 1862, also known as the Second Confiscation Act.

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  • The Confiscation Act of 1862 is also known as the Second Confiscation Act.
  • The official title of the Confiscation Act of 1862 is An Act to suppress Insurrection, to punish Treason and Rebellion, to seize and confiscate the Property of Rebels, and for other Purposes.
  • The Confiscation Act of 1862 was enacted by Congress and signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln on July 16, 1862.
  • President Lincoln considered vetoing the Confiscation Act of 1862 until Congress made last minute concessions to address his concerns about the constitutionality of the bill.
  • The Confiscation Act of 1862 expanded the scope of the Confiscation Act of 1861 declaring that fugitive slaves who had been used to wage war against the United States to be emancipated, as opposed to being just contraband of war.
  • The Confiscation Act of 1862 prohibited Union military officers from returning fugitive or captured slaves to their masters.
  • The Confiscation Act of 1862 authorized the president “to employ as many persons of African descent as he may deem necessary and proper for the suppression of this rebellion, and for this purpose he may organize and use them in such manner as he may judge best for the public welfare.” This opened the door to the enlistment of African-Americans as soldiers.
  • The Confiscation Act of 1862 authorized the president “to make provision for the transportation, colonization, and settlement, in some tropical country beyond the limits of the United States,” of slaves freed by the act.
  • Most of the provisions of the Confiscation Act of 1862 were rendered superfluous when President Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862.
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Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Confiscation Act of 1862 Facts
  • Coverage July 16, 1862
  • Author
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date July 28, 2021
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update February 17, 2021
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