Final report of the American Freedmen's Inquiry Commission to the Secretary of War.
OFFICE OF THE AMERICAN FREEDMEN'S
New York City, May 15, 1864.
To the Hon. EDWIN M. STANTON,
Secretary of War:
Praying reference to our preliminary report heretofore made, we have now the honor to submit to you the final report of our Commission.
Observations on portions of the country which had not been visited at the date of our former report, and on the free colored population of Canada West, are contained in supplemental reports A and B. The present report embraces considerations of a more general character--some historical, some legal, some prospective--all connecting themselves with the well-being and destiny of the race now in a state of transition among us from slavery to freedom.
The terms of your order which created the Commission demanding an inquiry as to the measures which may best contribute to the protection and improvement of the recently emancipated freedmen of the United States, and to their self-defense and self-support, involve not alone the question whether a system of provisional or permanent guardianship be necessary or proper to effect these objects, and (in case that should appear to be so) the further question what the details of such a system should be, but also, incidentally, the prior inquiry whether the protecting freedom of these people is reliably founded, and whether it can endure unless emancipation become universal throughout the Union, extending to the border as well as to the rebel States. There is involved yet another question, inseparably connected with the future destiny of the Nation--the great question whether, in the course of human events, with or without the aid of precautionary measures, it be likely that the two races hitherto the dominant and subordinate shall be able, when both shall be free, persistently to endure side by side, and to live together in one common country harmoniously and with mutual advantage. And, in connection with the preceding subjects of inquiry, lying, indeed, at the base of the whole matter, it has seemed to the Commission proper briefly to review the history, in this Western Hemisphere, of these two races so far as they have been connected with each other, the character and effect of that connection, and the results that have sprung and are yet to spring from it. Guided by this view of our duties, we offer on the general subject some prefatory observations.
CHAPTER I -- Slavery
CHAPTER II -- Emancipation
CHAPTER III -- The Future in the United States of the African Race.
All which is respectfully submitted.
ROBERT DALE OWEN,
SAML. G. HOWE,
Source: "Official Records of the War of the Rebellion"
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