DEAR SIR: I do not intrude to tell you--for you must know already--that a great proportion of those who triumphed in you election, and of all who desire the unqualified suppression of the Rebellion now desolating our country, are sorely disappointed and deeply pained by the policy you seem to be pursuing with regard to the slaves of the Rebels. I write only to set succinctly and unmistakably before you what we require, what we think we have a right to expect, and of what we complain...
--Opening, The Prayer of Twenty Millions
On August 20, 1862, American author, statesman, and founder-editor of The New York Tribune
Horace Greeley published the significant, Prayer of Twenty Millions, described as a "passionate editorial calling on President Abraham Lincoln to declare emancipation for all slaves in Union-held territory". Greatly opposed to slavery, Greeley focused on the Confiscation Acts which addressed Confederate property approving the use of slaves as a war measure. Lincoln had in fact already had been planning to free slaves and would do so in another month by issuing the Emancipation Proclamation
One might look back at this milestone in history, but also take greater awareness of the present, for today we might rather say a prayer of forty-five millions. Modern slavery, also termed human trafficking, takes many deplorable forms of recruiting, transporting, transferring, harboring, or receiving persons by improper means and for improper purposes: domestic servitude, forced labor, child labor, sex trafficking, bonded labor, and forced marriage. The United Nations
, states, "While the means through which modern and traditional forms of slavery have operated differ greatly, the violation of human rights and human dignity are central issues in both practices." Children make up as much a quarter of the victims, with a large percentage being girls, and trafficking occurs throughout the world, including the United States. According to a recent report
by the State Department the top three nations of origin for victims of human trafficking in 2018 were the United States, Mexico and the Philippines.
The following articles are drawn from Proquest Historical Newspapers
, which informs and inspires classroom teaching and learning.
- The Prayer Of Twenty Millions. (1862, Aug 20). New - York Daily Tribune (1842-1866)
- Horace Greeley's Letter To President Lincoln.: An Appeal To Execute The Confiscation Act. (1862, Aug 26). Chicago Tribune (1860-1872)
- Greeley Honored By His Native Town. (1911, Feb 04). New - York Tribune (1911-1922)
- Greeley Bust Put In College Shrine. (1936, Jun 18). New York Times (1923-Current File)
- W L. Y. D. (1941, Feb 03). 'Go West,' He Said. Los Angeles Times (1923-1995)
- 1861-1881-- Civil War Controversies and the Problems of Reconstruction. (1941, Apr 13). New York Herald Tribune (1926-1962)
- A Variety of Lives. (1950, Dec 30). The Christian Science Monitor (1908-Current File)
- National Grapevine: Speaking Frankly. (1952, Feb 23). The Chicago Defender (National Edition) (1921-1967)
- Dyer, B. (1962, Aug 22). Today In History. Los Angeles Times (1923-1995)
- Schulte Nordholt, J.W. (1962, Dec 12). The People That Walk In Darkness: His People Are Free! Chicago Daily Defender (Daily Edition) (1960-1973)
- Sweat, E.F. (1963, Mar 06). "Thence Forward and Forever Free".... Atlanta Daily World (1932-2003)
- Great Presidential: A New Birth Of Freedom. (1965, Jan 31). The Sun (1837-1993)
- Horace Greeley, Wikimedia Commons
- Special News Slide, Courtesy of Edlab Studios
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