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  1. Donald Trump Is the First White President - The Atlantic
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Donald Trump Is the First White President - The Atlantic

Behind him was a portrait of local housing activists. The audience of about was somewhat wary, young and many worked in tech. Steyer is a year-old philanthropist who has spent the last seven years campaigning for progressive causes such as clean energy, youth voter turnout, and, more recently, impeaching President Trump.

It was his effort there that made him a headache for the Democratic establishment, who were unsettled by a series of self-funded ads Mr. Steyer ran — starring Mr. Steyer — calling to impeach Mr. Steyer said of the president on Wednesday. But his background may get in the way of that progressive image. He made his fortune as the founder of Farallon Capital, a hedge fund invested in coal mines and coal-fired power plants , as well as private prisons , among other industries.

If Mr. Trump ran as the billionaire of the people, appealing to working-class Republicans and swing voters, Mr. Steyer is a very California billionaire: a denim shirt, a tan, and a hip activist wife.

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And since he announced his run, his wealth has been the story, as he jockeys to be seen as a radical for change. Former New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg decided not to run when he figured that out, and the campaign for Howard Schultz , chief executive of Starbucks, fizzled. Onstage, Mr. Steyer, a soft-spoken man with sandy blond hair, fielded questions. Steyer said he believes he is the only person willing to fight Mr. Steyer said.

For locals, Mr. Even as he has worked to grow his image nationally, he is hardly a household name in San Francisco. No one was peering in the windows. It was a quiet evening in a cozy event space. Asked how he could have empathy for people in less privileged positions, Mr. Steyer talked about the importance of eye contact. He pointed to his work with NextGen America, an environmental advocacy nonprofit and progressive political action committee, which has brought him into contact with people of different backgrounds, as well as his more recent pro-impeachment town halls and the start of his campaign.

This is how he has gotten to understand the needs of American voters, he said.

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Many in the room wanted to know why an older white male should win the nomination over some of the female candidates or candidates of color. Yekutiel asked.

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Neither the federal authorities nor the army were prepared for the flood of people, and many of the refugees suffered as a result. Though the government attempted to provide them with confiscated land, there was not enough to go around. Many fugitives were put into crowded camps, where starvation and disease led to a high death rate. Northern citizens, black and white alike, stepped in to fill the gap. They organized relief societies and provided aid. They also organized schools to teach the freedmen, women, and children to read and write, thus giving an education to thousands of African Americans throughout the war.

Though "contraband" slaves had been declared free, Lincoln continued to insist that this was a war to save the Union, not to free slaves. But by , Lincoln was considering emancipation as a necessary step toward winning the war. The South was using enslaved people to aid the war effort. Black men and women were forced to build fortifications, work as blacksmiths, nurses, boatmen, and laundresses, and to work in factories, hospitals, and armories.

In the meantime, the North was refusing to accept the services of black volunteers and freed slaves, the very people who most wanted to defeat the slaveholders. In addition, several governments in Europe were considering recognizing the Confederacy and intervening against the Union.

If Lincoln declared this a war to free the slaves, European public opinion would overwhelmingly back the North. On July 22, , Lincoln showed a draft of the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation to his cabinet. It proposed to emancipate the slaves in all rebel areas on January 1, Secretary of State William H.

Seward agreed with the proposal, but cautioned Lincoln to wait until the Union had a major victory before formally issuing the proclamation. Lincoln's chance came after the Union victory at the Battle of Antietam in September of He issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation on September The proclamation warned the Confederate states to surrender by January 1, , or their slaves would be freed.

Some people were critical of the proclamation for only freeing some of the slaves. Others, including Frederick Douglass, were jubilant. Douglass felt that it was the beginning of the end of slavery, and that it would act as a "moral bombshell" to the Confederacy. Yet he and others feared that Lincoln would give in to pressure from northern conservatives, and would fail to keep his promise.

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  • Despite the opposition, however, the president remained firm. On January 1, , he issued the final Emancipation Proclamation. With it he officially freed all slaves within the states or parts of states that were in rebellion and not in Union hands. This left one million slaves in Union territory still in bondage. Throughout the North, African Americans and their white allies were exhuberant. They packed churches and meeting halls and celebrated the news.

    In the South, most slaves did not hear of the proclamation for months. But the purpose of the Civil War had now changed. The North was not only fighting to preserve the Union, it was fighting to end slavery. Throughout this time, northern black men had continued to pressure the army to enlist them. A few individual commanders in the field had taken steps to recruit southern African Americans into their forces.

    But it was only after Lincoln issued the final Emancipation Proclamation that the federal army would officially accept black soldiers into its ranks. African American men rushed to enlist. This time they were accepted into all-black units. Their heroism in combat put to rest worries over the willingness of black soldiers to fight.

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    Douglass proclaimed, "I urge you to fly to arms and smite with death the power that would bury the government and your liberty in the same hopeless grave. On March 6, , the Secretary of War was informed that "seven hundred and fifty blacks who were waiting for an opportunity to join the Union Army had been rescued from slavery under the leadership of Harriet Ross Tubman Black soldiers faced discrimination as well as segregation.

    The army was extremely reluctant to commission black officers -- only one hundred gained commissions during the war. African American soldiers were also given substandard supplies and rations.

    Probably the worst form of discrimination was the pay differential. At the beginning of black enlistment, it was assumed that blacks would be kept out of direct combat, and the men were paid as laborers rather than as soldiers. Black troops strongly resisted this treatment. The Fifty-Fourth Massachusetts Regiment served a year without pay rather than accept the unfair wages. Many blacks refused to enlist because of the discriminatory pay. Finally, in , the War Department sanctioned equal wages for black soldiers. In the South, most slaveholders were convinced that their slaves would remain loyal to them.

    Some did, but the vast majority crossed Union lines as soon as Northern troops entered their vicinity. A Confederate general stated in that North Carolina was losing approximately a million dollars every week because of the fleeing slaves. Numbers of white southerners also refused to support the Confederacy. From the beginning, there were factions who vehemently disagreed with secession and remained loyal to the Union. Many poor southern whites became disillusioned during the course of the war.

    Wealthy planters had been granted exemptions from military service early on. This became especially inflammatory when the South instituted the draft in and the exemptions remained in place. It became clear to many poor southern whites that the war was being waged by the rich planters and the poor were fighting it. In addition, the common people were hit hard by wartime scarcity.