Emancipation Proclamation Copy
Slavery and Emancipation Proclamation
Emancipation Proclamation History
Civil War and Emancipation Proclamation
Rarely in history has the link between the blood shed on the battlefield
and the freedom of millions been as clear as it was September, 1862. At the Battle of Antietam, on September 17, over 23,000
men fell as casualties in a single day of battle - more than the total casualties of all America's previous wars combined.
Just five days later, on September 22, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. This
declaration was the result of a long struggle, dating back to the very foundation of the country. From the moment that Thomas
Jefferson penned those immortal words, "all men are created equal," a great national debate spread through the nation, attempting
to define citizenship, personhood, and freedom. In 1861, that debate had descended into civil war.
By the summer of 1862, with casualties mounting across the country, Lincoln
realized it was time to embrace a higher goal for the conflict. On July 22, he introduced to his cabinet a proclamation declaring
that all slaves in states in active rebellion against the federal government would be freed under his powers as Commander-in-Chief.
While nearly all of his cabinet members greeted the proclamation favorably, Secretary of State William Seward suggested Lincoln
wait for a Union victory before issuing such an important policy. Seward believed putting forth such a revolutionary measure
amidst Union setbacks on the fields of Virginia would take away much of the proclamation's power, giving it the appearance
of an act of desperation rather than a bold move. Lincoln agreed. He held on to the document, waiting for a Union victory.
When Robert E. Lee's Confederate Army of Northern Virginia crossed the
Potomac River and began its invasion of Maryland, Lincoln made "a solemn vow" that should Lee be stopped, he would "crown
the result by the declaration of freedom to the slaves." While the fate of the nation hung in the balance, and with the eyes
of millions upon them, the Union Army of the Potomac and the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia clashed near the banks
of Antietam Creek on September 17. Five days later, with Lee gone from Maryland, Lincoln had the victory he needed and he
issued the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, stating that he would free all the slaves in any state "in rebellion against
the United States" on January 1, 1863.
By the appointed deadline none of the Confederate states returned to the
Union, so after standing in line for hours to greet the customary New Year's Day visitors at the White House, Abraham Lincoln
retired to his office upstairs at the Executive Mansion and signed the final version of the Emancipation Proclamation. His
hands were tired and trembling from shaking so many hands, and as he prepared to sign the document, he paused to let the quivering
subside, and declared, as if to reinforce his resolve, "I never in my life felt more certain that I was doing right than I
do in signing this paper...if my name ever goes into history it will be for this act, and my whole soul is in it." Lincoln
affixed a steady signature to the Emancipation Proclamation, competing what he would later call the great event of the nineteenth
The final proclamation, issued January 1, 1863, identified those areas "in
rebellion." They included virtually the entire Confederacy, except areas controlled by the Union army. The document notably
excluded the so-called border states of Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri, where slavery existed side by side with Unionist
sentiment. In areas where the U.S. government had authority, such as Maryland and much of Tennessee, slavery went untouched.
In areas where slaves were declared free - most of the South - the federal government had no effective authority.
The Emancipation Proclamation had a profound influence on the course of
the war and the institution of slavery. In addition to setting the state for the freedom of millions of former slaves, it
was also a decisive war measure. It deprived the South of valuable slave labor for its war effort as thousands of slaves fled
to nearby Union camps, and historians believe that it influenced the decision of England and France not to intervene on behalf
of the Confederacy. It also allowed nearly 180,000 former slaves and free blacks to serve and fight alongside their countrymen
as United States Colored Troops.
Although his famous proclamation did not immediately free a single slave,
black Americans saw Lincoln as a savior. Official legal freedom for the slaves came in December 1865 with the ratification
of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution abolishing slavery.
January 1, 1863
By the President of the United States of America:
Whereas, on the twenty-second day of September, in the year of our Lord one
thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, a proclamation was issued by the President of the United States, containing, among other
things, the following, to wit:
"That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight
hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall
then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the Executive Government
of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such
persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual
"That the Executive will, on the first day of January aforesaid, by proclamation,
designate the States and parts of States, if any, in which the people thereof, respectively, shall then be in rebellion against
the United States; and the fact that any State, or the people thereof, shall on that day be, in good faith, represented in
the Congress of the United States by members chosen thereto at elections wherein a majority of the qualified voters of such
State shall have participated, shall, in the absence of strong countervailing testimony, be deemed conclusive evidence that
such State, and the people thereof, are not then in rebellion against the United States."
Now, therefore I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, by virtue
of the power in me vested as Commander-in-Chief, of the Army and Navy of the United States in time of actual armed rebellion
against the authority and government of the United States, and as a fit and necessary war measure for suppressing said rebellion,
do, on this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and in accordance with
my purpose so to do publicly proclaimed for the full period of one hundred days, from the day first above mentioned, order
and designate as the States and parts of States wherein the people thereof respectively, are this day in rebellion against
the United States, the following, to wit:
Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, (except the Parishes of St. Bernard, Plaquemines,
Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. James Ascension, Assumption, Terrebonne, Lafourche, St. Mary, St. Martin, and Orleans,
including the City of New Orleans) Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia, (except
the forty-eight counties designated as West Virginia, and also the counties of Berkley, Accomac, Northampton, Elizabeth City,
York, Princess Ann, and Norfolk, including the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth[)], and which excepted parts, are for the
present, left precisely as if this proclamation were not issued.
And by virtue of the power, and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order and
declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be
free; and that the Executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize
and maintain the freedom of said persons.
And I hereby enjoin upon the people so declared to be free to abstain from
all violence, unless in necessary self-defence; and I recommend to them that, in all cases when allowed, they labor faithfully
for reasonable wages.
And I further declare and make known, that such persons of suitable condition,
will be received into the armed service of the United States to garrison forts, positions, stations, and other places, and
to man vessels of all sorts in said service.
And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by
the Constitution, upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind, and
the gracious favor of Almighty God.
In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the
United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this first day of January, in the year of
our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the eighty-seventh.
By the President: ABRAHAM LINCOLN
WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.
Courtesy Library of Congress
Recommended Reading: Lincoln's Emancipation
Proclamation: The End of Slavery in America
(Simon & Schuster). Description: One of the nation's
foremost Lincoln scholars offers an authoritative consideration
of the document that represents the most far-reaching accomplishment of our greatest president. No single official paper in
American history changed the lives of as many Americans as Lincoln's
Emancipation Proclamation. But no American document has been held up to greater suspicion. Its bland and lawyerlike language
is unfavorably compared to the soaring eloquence of the Gettysburg Address and the Second Inaugural; its effectiveness in
freeing the slaves has been dismissed as a legal illusion. And for some African-Americans the Proclamation raises doubts about
Lincoln himself. Continued below...
Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation dispels the myths and mistakes surrounding the Emancipation
Proclamation and skillfully reconstructs how America's
greatest president wrote the greatest American proclamation of freedom. About the Author: Allen C. Guelzo is the Grace Ferguson
Kea Professor of American History at Eastern University
(St. David's, Pennsylvania), where he also directs the Templeton Honors College. He is the author of five books, most recently the highly acclaimed Abraham
Lincoln: Redeemer President, which won the Lincoln Prize for 2000.
Recommended Reading: Abraham Lincoln: Redeemer President (Library of Religious Biography). Description: Since its original publication in 1999, "Abraham Lincoln: Redeemer
President" has garnered numerous accolades, including the prestigious 2000 Lincoln Prize. Allen Guelzo's peerless biography
of America's most celebrated president
is now available for the first time in a fine paperback edition. Continued below...
The first "intellectual
biography" of Lincoln,
this work explores the role of ideas in Lincoln's life, treating
him as a serious thinker deeply involved in the nineteenth-century debates over politics, religion, and culture. Written with
passion and dramatic impact, Guelzo's masterful study offers a revealing new perspective on a man whose life was in many ways
a paradox. As journalist Richard N. Ostling notes, "Much has been written about Lincoln's
belief and disbelief," but Guelzo's extraordinary account "goes deeper."
Recommended Reading: The Radical and the Republican: Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, and the Triumph
of Antislavery Politics. Review From Publishers Weekly: The perennial tension between principle and pragmatism
in politics frames this engaging account of two Civil War Era icons. Historian Oakes (Slavery and Freedom) charts the course
by which Douglass and Lincoln, initially far apart on the antislavery spectrum, gravitated toward each other. Lincoln began
as a moderate who advocated banning slavery in the territories while tolerating it in the South, rejected social equality
for blacks and wanted to send freedmen overseas—and wound up abolishing slavery outright and increasingly supporting
black voting rights. Conversely, the abolitionist firebrand Douglass moved from an impatient, self-marginalizing moral rectitude
to a recognition of compromise, coalition building and incremental goals as necessary steps forward in a democracy. Continued
views on race were essentially modern; the book is really a study through his eyes of the more complex figure of Lincoln.
Oakes lucidly explores how political realities and military necessity influenced Lincoln's
tortuous path to emancipation, and asks whether his often bigoted pronouncements represented real conviction or strategic
concessions to white racism. As Douglass shifts from denouncing Lincoln's foot-dragging to
revering his achievements, Oakes vividly conveys both the immense distance America
traveled to arrive at a more enlightened place and the fraught politics that brought it there. AWARDED
FIVE STARS by americancivilwarhistory.org
Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln (944 pages) (Simon
& Schuster). Description: The life and times of
Abraham Lincoln have been analyzed and dissected in countless books. Do we need another Lincoln
biography? In Team of Rivals, esteemed historian Doris Kearns Goodwin proves that we do. Though she can't help but cover some
familiar territory, her perspective is focused enough to offer fresh insights into Lincoln's
leadership style and his deep understanding of human behavior and motivation. Goodwin makes the case for Lincoln's political genius by examining his relationships with three men he selected for
his cabinet, all of whom were opponents for the Republican nomination in 1860: William H. Seward, Salmon P. Chase, and Edward
Bates. Continued below...
all accomplished, nationally known, and presidential, originally disdained Lincoln for his backwoods upbringing and lack of
experience, and were shocked and humiliated at losing to this relatively obscure Illinois lawyer. Yet Lincoln
not only convinced them to join his administration--Seward as secretary of state, Chase as secretary of the treasury, and
Bates as attorney general--he ultimately gained their admiration and respect as well. How he soothed egos, turned rivals into
allies, and dealt with many challenges to his leadership, all for the sake of the greater good, is largely what Goodwin's
fine book is about. Had he not possessed the wisdom and confidence to select and work with the best people, she argues, he
could not have led the nation through one of its darkest periods. Ten years in the making, this engaging work reveals why
"Lincoln's road to success was longer, more tortuous, and far less likely" than the other men,
and why, when opportunity beckoned, Lincoln was "the best
prepared to answer the call." This multiple biography further provides valuable background and insights into the contributions
and talents of Seward, Chase, and Bates. Lincoln may have been "the indispensable ingredient
of the Civil War," but these three men were invaluable to Lincoln
and they played key roles in keeping the nation intact.
The Impending Crisis, 1848-1861
(Paperback), by David M. Potter. Review: Professor
Potter treats an incredibly complicated and misinterpreted time period with unparalleled objectivity and insight. Potter masterfully
explains the climatic events that led to Southern secession – a greatly divided nation – and the Civil War: the social, political
and ideological conflicts; culture; American expansionism, sectionalism and popular sovereignty; economic and tariff
systems; and slavery. In other words, Potter places under the microscope the root causes
and origins of the Civil War. He conveys the subjects in easy to understand language to edify the reader's
understanding (it's not like reading some dry old history book). Delving
beyond surface meanings and interpretations, this book analyzes not only the history, but the historiography of the time period
as well. Continued below…
rejects the historian's tendency to review the period with all the benefits of hindsight. He simply traces the events, allowing
the reader a step-by-step walk through time, the various views, and contemplates the interpretations of contemporaries and
other historians. Potter then moves forward with his analysis. The Impending Crisis is the absolute gold-standard of historical
writing… This simply is the book by which, not only other antebellum era books, but all history books should be judged.
Recommended Reading: American Slavery, American Freedom. Description: "If it is possible to understand the American paradox, the marriage of slavery and freedom, Virginia is surely the place to begin," writes Edmund S. Morgan in American Slavery, American Freedom,
a study of the tragic contradiction at the core of America.
Morgan finds the key to this central paradox in the people and politics of the state that was both the birthplace of the revolution
and the largest slaveholding state in the country. With a new introduction. Winner of the Francis Parkman Prize and the Albert
J. Beveridge Award. Continued below...
About the Author:
Edmund S. Morgan is Sterling Professor of History Emeritus at Yale University
and the author of Benjamin Franklin. Morgan was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2000.
Recommended Reading: Lincoln and Douglas: The Debates that Defined America (Simon & Schuster) (February 5, 2008) (Hardcover)
. Description: In 1858, Abraham Lincoln was known as
a successful Illinois lawyer who had achieved some prominence
in state politics as a leader in the new Republican Party. Two years later, he was elected president and was on his way to
becoming the greatest chief executive in American history. What carried this one-term congressman from obscurity to fame was
the campaign he mounted for the United States Senate against the country's most formidable politician, Stephen A. Douglas,
in the summer and fall of 1858. Lincoln challenged Douglas directly in one of his greatest
speeches -- "A house divided against itself cannot stand" -- and confronted Douglas on the questions of slavery and the inviolability
of the Union in seven fierce debates. As this brilliant narrative by the prize-winning Lincoln scholar Allen Guelzo dramatizes, Lincoln
would emerge a predominant national figure, the leader of his party, the man who would bear the burden of the national confrontation.
the great issue between Lincoln and Douglas was slavery. Douglas was the champion of "popular sovereignty," of letting states and territories decide
for themselves whether to legalize slavery. Lincoln drew a
moral line, arguing that slavery was a violation both of natural law and of the principles expressed in the Declaration of
Independence. No majority could ever make slavery right, he argued. Lincoln lost that Senate
race to Douglas, though he came close to toppling the "Little Giant," whom almost everyone
thought was unbeatable. Guelzo's Lincoln and Douglas brings alive their debates and this whole year of campaigns and underscores
their centrality in the greatest conflict in American history. The encounters between Lincoln and Douglas engage a key question
in American political life: What is democracy's purpose? Is it to satisfy the desires of the majority? Or is it to achieve
a just and moral public order? These were the real questions in 1858 that led to the Civil War. They remain questions for