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Proclamation Suspending Writ of Habeas Corpus - Bruce Frohnen, The American Nation: Primary Sources 
The American Nation: Primary Sources, ed. Bruce Frohnen (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2008).
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Proclamation Suspending Writ of Habeas Corpus
September 15, 1863
by the president of the united states of america.
Whereas the Constitution of the United States has ordained that the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended unless when, in cases of rebellion or invasion, the public safety may require it; and
Whereas a rebellion was existing on the 3d day of March, 1863, which rebellion is still existing; and
Whereas by a statute which was approved on that day it was enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States in Congress assembled that during the present insurrection the President of the United States, whenever in his judgment the public safety may require, is authorized to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in any case throughout the United States or any part thereof; and
Whereas, in the judgment of the President, the public safety does require that the privilege of the said writ shall now be suspended throughout the United States in the cases where, by the authority of the President of the United States, military, naval, and civil officers of the United States, or any of them, hold persons under their command or in their custody, either as prisoners of war, spies, or aiders or abettors of the enemy, or officers, soldiers, or seamen enrolled or drafted or mustered or enlisted in or belonging to the land or naval forces of the United States, or as deserters therefrom, or otherwise amenable to military law or the rules and articles of war or the rules or regulations prescribed for the military or naval services by authority of the President of the United States, or for resisting a draft, or for any other offense against the military or naval service:
Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do hereby proclaim and make known to all whom it may concern that the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is suspended throughout the United States in the several cases before mentioned, and that this suspension will continue throughout the duration of the said rebellion or until this proclamation shall, by a subsequent one to be issued by the President of the United States, be modified or revoked. And I do hereby require all magistrates, attorneys, and other civil officers within the United States and all officers and others in the military and naval services of the United States to take distinct notice of this suspension and to give it full effect, and all citizens of the United States to conduct and govern themselves accordingly and in conformity with the Constitution of the United States and the laws of Congress in such case made and provided.
In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed this 15th day of September ad 1863, and of the Independence of the United States of America the eighty-eighth.
[seal.] ABRAHAM LINCOLN.
Lincoln’s opposition to the institution of slavery was well known; he had first proposed a plan for gradual emancipation in 1849. But he did not portray the war as one intended to free the slaves. Indeed, fearing lest border, slaveholding states might secede, he repeatedly denied that such was his goal. But Congress itself, in the Confiscation Act of 1861, had authorized emancipation of slaves used in the Confederate war effort. When General John C. Frémont, Union commander in the Western Division, declared all slaves in Missouri “forever free,” Lincoln asked Frémont to limit his action to conform with the Confiscation Act. Frémont refusing, Lincoln, on August 30, 1861, revoked the proclamation and relieved him of command. Increasingly, however, Lincoln embraced limited forms of emancipation as a means of preserving the Union, thus delivering speeches such as that of March 6, 1862, reproduced here.
On May 9 of the following year, General David Hunter, commanding federal forces holding a series of Union-controlled enclaves along the South Atlantic coast, issued a proclamation declaring every slave in South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida to be free and eligible for military service. Like Frémont, Hunter claimed that his action was one of military necessity. But Lincoln reserved decisions of this magnitude for himself. Moreover, Lincoln had already made at least two appeals to border states to accept compensated emancipation, a policy he deemed less likely to win favor if Hunter’s actions were allowed to stand. But his third appeal, made at a meeting between Lincoln and border state leaders on July 12, 1862, also met with rejection. It was in this context that Lincoln decided to issue his Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. Lincoln waited for a Union victory on the battlefield, which he felt he had after the Battle of Antietam, and then informed Confederate states, through his Preliminary Proclamation, that he would free all slaves in those states still in rebellion, as of January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation made good on this word, at least officially. The Proclamation declared free only those slaves essentially out of reach of Union forces, leaving all others in bondage. The Proclamation did, however, spawn a flood of slave escapes and was part of a wider movement toward emancipation that culminated in the Thirteenth Amendment.