On December 1, 1862, the Thirty-seventh Congress of the United States convened and received Lincoln’s annual State of the Union Message. After reviewing the foreign affairs of the nation and recommending to the Congress three constitutional amendments concerning American blacks, the president concluded his message, noting:
“Fellow citizens, we cannot escape history... In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free—honorable alike in what we give, and what we perceive. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best, hope of earth.”
As in so many similar scenarios during the American Civil War, Lincoln clearly had cast off his melancholy and refocused his considerable talents to the great task at hand of winning the Civil War and securing freedom for America’s blacks.