Macon Allen was the first African American to graduate was the first African American licensed to practice law in the United States, in Maine in 1844. He is also believed to be the first to hold a judicial position.
Liberated slaves were treated as captured property at this time. The confiscation act of 1861 allowed seizing Confederate property but did not clarify the fate of captured slaves. One Union general gained notoriety for general order No. 11 which freed all slaves in areas under his control. President Lincoln countermanded this order amid concerns of the political consequences in four slave holding border states that remained in the Union.