Lincoln Discussion Symposium

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Hello everyone,

First I apologize if the following question has previously been addressed and I missed the thread.

Second, I follow the Facebook page 'Saving Lincoln" because of its very informative and thought-provoking "On this Date" feature. Today's feature, about Lincoln's concurrence with Stanton about the Enrollment Act's "three hundred dollar clause" intrigues me. (As you know, this "clause" contributed to the deadly draft riots of 1863.) Thus, is there further insight with regard to AL's opinion? To whom in Congress did he express his opposition to the monetary requirement?

FYI: Here's the post:

On this date in 1864, President Lincoln forwarded to Congress a dispatch from Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton regarding the Enrollment Act, which instituted a military draft. Stanton suggested that Congress repeal the Act's "three hundred dollar clause," which allowed draftees to get out of military service by paying $300. Stanton explained, "ample experience has now shown that the pecuniary exemption from service frustrates the object of the enrolment law, by furnishing money instead of men."
Lincoln informed Congress that he concurred with Stanton's recommendation.

(06-08-2014 10:03 PM)ReignetteC Wrote: [ -> ]To whom in Congress did he express his opposition to the monetary requirement?

Reignette, I have tried to find an answer but so far have not found any information.

In the summer of 1863 Lincoln wrote his opinion of the "three hundred dollar clause."
He wrote:

"Much complaint is made of that provision of the conscription law which allows a drafted man to substitute three hundred dollars for himself; while, as I believe, none is made of that provision which allows him to substitute another man for himself. Nor is the three hundred dollar provision objected to for unconstitutionality; but for inequality---for favoring the rich against the poor. The substitution of men is the provision if any, which favors the rich to the exclusion of the poor. But this being a provision in accordance with an old and well known practice, in the raising of armies, is not objected to. There would have been great objection if that provision had been omitted. And yet being in, the money provision really modifies the inequality which the other introduces. It allows men to escape the service, who are too poor to escape but for it. Without the money provision, competition among the more wealthy might, and probably would, raise the price of substitutes above three hundred dollars, thus leaving the man who could raise only three hundred dollars, no escape from personal service. True, by the law as it is, the man who can not raise so much as three hundred dollars, nor obtain a personal substitute for less, can not escape; but he can come quite as near escaping as he could if the money provision were not in the law. To put it another way, is an unobjectionable law which allows only the man to escape who can pay a thousand dollars, made objectionable by adding a provision that any one may escape who can pay the smaller sum of three hundred dollars? This is the exact difference at this point between the present law and all former draft laws. It is true that by this law a some what larger number will escape than could under a law allowing personal substitutes only; but each additional man thus escaping will be [a] poorer man than could have escaped by the law in the other form. The money provision enlarges the class of exempts from actual service simply by admitting poorer men into it. How, then can this money provision be a wrong to the poor man? The inequality complained of pertains in greater degree to the substitution of men, and is really modified and lessened by the money provision. The inequality could only be perfectly cured by sweeping both provisions away. This being a great innovation, would probably leave the law more distasteful than it now is."
Thank you, Roger. If I understand AL's opinion correctly, he would have preferred that both provisions (money and substitute) be "swept away?" Although the last line stumps me.

FYI: As per an inflation calculator, $300 in 1863 is worth $5,500 today. Obviously, $300 in 1863 was an unattainable sum for most immigrants or new citizens.
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