Why did Lincoln give the “eye for an eye” order today?


July 31, 1863 — Although the concept of eye-for-an-eye punishment seems medieval now, it was in practice during the Civil War. In fact, black and white POWs were often punished or killed to even a score.

Upset by this, President Lincoln issued the historic “eye for an eye” order today, warning the Confederacy that the Union would shoot a rebel prisoner for every black prisoner shot — and would condemn a rebel prisoner to a life of hard labor for every black prisoner sold into slavery.

Lincoln’s General Order No. 252 had a restraining influence on Confederate government; however, individual commanders and soldiers continued to murder captured black soldiers.

Sources: freedmen.umd.edu, wikipedia/AbrahamLincoln, slate.com, blackfacts.com

Words of Wisdom for July 31, 2016

“That old law about ‘an eye for an eye’ leaves everybody blind. The time is always right to do the right thing.”

— Martin Luther King, Jr.