Military Governor of North Carolina Edward Stanly and his call for an election

Edward Stanly, Military Governor of North Carolina, upon publication of President Abraham Lincoln’s preliminary Emancipation Proclamation called for an election in the Second Senate District of North Carolina.  Stanly understood, as stated in the proclamation, that states with representation in the United States government would be exempt from the effects of Lincoln’s proclamation.  Named Military Governor by Lincoln in May 1862, Edward Stanly understood his military governorship in terms of restoring the state of North Carolina to “proper” relations with the national government and the Constitution as it was prior to the war.  To this end, Stanly issued a proclamation calling for an election.  He selected January 1, 1863 as Election Day: probably to show his displeasure over the Emancipation Proclamation.

Stanly’s  interpretation of his responsibilities made him run head-long into any number of policies began by Union forces after the occupation of coastal North Carolina in February-March 1862.  He spoke out against educating slaves or runaways – North Carolina law forbade education of enslaved African Americans.  Such run-ins with northern philanthropy troubled his governorship and his stance against the Emancipation Proclamation was the final straw.

The election proceeded as called and the results were forwarded to Congress for vetting.  Once in Congress, the election results were called into question by one of the candidates.  Eventually, on February 14, 1863, Congress ruled against the election results: the Emancipation Proclamation would be in full effect in occupied North Carolina.  Stanly resigned and eventually left North Carolina.  President Lincoln never appointed a replacement war-time reconstruction military governor in North Carolina.

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1 Response to Military Governor of North Carolina Edward Stanly and his call for an election

  1. Pingback: First Wednesdays – The Emancipation Proclamation in northeastern North Carolina | North Carolina Civil War 150

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