Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation
President Abraham Lincoln and Slavery History
Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, 1862
Emancipation Proclamation and the Abolition of Slavery
President Abraham Lincoln issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation in the midst of the Civil War,
announcing on September 22, 1862, that if the rebels did not end the fighting and rejoin the Union 100 days later, by
January 1, 1863, all slaves in the rebellious states would be free.
In July 1862, President Lincoln read his "preliminary proclamation" to his
Cabinet, then decided to wait for a Union military victory to issue it. On September 22, 1862, following the victory at Antietam,
he signed the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, formally alerting the Confederacy of his intention to free all persons
held as slaves within the rebellious states. One hundred days later, with the Confederacy still in full rebellion, President Lincoln
issued the final Emancipation Proclamation.
When the Civil War broke out in 1861, shortly after Lincoln’s inauguration
as America’s 16th president, he maintained that the war was about restoring the Union and not about slavery. He avoided
issuing an anti-slavery proclamation immediately, despite the urgings of abolitionists and radical Republicans, as well as
his personal belief that slavery was morally repugnant. Instead, Lincoln chose to move cautiously until he could gain wide
support from the public for such a measure.
In July 1862, Lincoln informed his cabinet that he would issue an emancipation
proclamation but that it would exempt the so-called Border States, which had slaveholders but remained loyal to the Union.
His cabinet persuaded him not to make the announcement until after a Union victory. Lincoln’s opportunity came following
the Union win at the Battle of Antietam in September 1862. On September 22, the president announced that slaves in areas still
in rebellion within 100 days would be free.
On January 1, 1863, Lincoln issued the final Emancipation Proclamation,
which declared “that all persons held as slaves” within the rebel states “are, and henceforward shall be
free.” The proclamation also called for the recruitment and establishment of black military units among the Union forces.
An estimated 180,000 African Americans went on to serve in the army, while another 18,000 served in the navy.
After the Emancipation Proclamation, backing the Confederacy was seen as
favoring slavery. It became impossible for anti-slavery nations such as Great Britain and France, who had been friendly to
the Confederacy, to get involved on behalf of the South. The proclamation also unified and strengthened Lincoln’s party,
the Republicans, helping them stay in power for the next two decades.
The proclamation was a presidential order and not a law passed by Congress,
so Lincoln then pushed for an antislavery amendment to the U.S. Constitution to ensure its permanence. With the passage of
the 13th Amendment in 1865, slavery was eliminated throughout America.
Proclamation of 1862
Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, 1862
". . . on the first day of January . . . 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." President Abraham Lincoln, preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, September 22, 1862
Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, September 22, 1862
By the President of the United States of America.
I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States of America, and Commander-in-Chief
of the Army and Navy thereof, do hereby proclaim and declare that hereafter, as heretofore, the war will be prosecuted for
the object of practically restoring the constitutional relation between the United States, and each of the States, and the people thereof, in which States that relation
is, or may be, suspended or disturbed.
That it is my purpose, upon the next meeting of Congress to again recommend
the adoption of a practical measure tendering pecuniary aid to the free acceptance or rejection of all slave States, so called,
the people whereof may not then be in rebellion against the United States and which States may then have voluntarily adopted,
or thereafter may voluntarily adopt, immediate or gradual abolishment of slavery within their respective limits; and that
the effort to colonize persons of African descent, with their consent, upon this continent, or elsewhere, with the previously
obtained consent of the Governments existing there, will be continued.
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 part 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.
That attention is hereby called to an Act of Congress entitled "An Act to
make an additional Article of War" approved March 13, 1862, and which act is in the words and figure following:
"Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States
of America in Congress assembled, That hereafter the following shall be promulgated as an additional article of war for the
government of the army of the United States, and shall be obeyed and observed as such:
"Article-All officers or persons in the military or naval service of the United
States are prohibited from employing any of the forces under their respective commands for the purpose of returning fugitives
from service or labor, who may have escaped from any persons to whom such service or labor is claimed to be due, and any officer
who shall be found guilty by a court martial of violating this article shall be dismissed from the service.
"Sec.2. And be it further enacted, That this act shall take effect from and
after its passage."
Also to the ninth and tenth sections of an act entitled "An Act to suppress
Insurrection, to punish Treason and Rebellion, to seize and confiscate property of rebels, and for other purposes," approved
July 17, 1862, and which sections are in the words and figures following:
"Sec.9. And be it further enacted, That all slaves of persons who shall hereafter
be engaged in rebellion against the government of the United States, or who shall in any way give aid or comfort thereto,
escaping from such persons and taking refuge within the lines of the army; and all slaves captured from such persons or deserted
by them and coming under the control of the government of the United States; and all slaves of such persons found on (or)
being within any place occupied by rebel forces and afterwards occupied by the forces of the United States, shall be deemed
captives of war, and shall be forever free of their servitude and not again held as slaves.
"Sec.10. And be it further enacted, That no slave escaping into any State,
Territory, or the District of Columbia, from any other State, shall be delivered up, or in any way impeded or hindered of
his liberty, except for crime, or some offence against the laws, unless the person claiming said fugitive shall first make
oath that the person to whom the labor or service of such fugitive is alleged to be due is his lawful owner, and has not borne
arms against the United States in the present rebellion, nor in any way given aid and comfort thereto; and no person engaged
in the military or naval service of the United States shall, under any pretence whatever, assume to decide on the validity
of the claim of any person to the service or labor of any other person, or surrender up any such person to the claimant, on
pain of being dismissed from the service."
And I do hereby enjoin upon and order all persons engaged in the military
and naval service of the United States to observe, obey, and enforce, within their respective spheres of service, the act,
and sections above recited.
And the executive will in due time recommend that all citizens of the United
States who shall have remained loyal thereto throughout the rebellion, shall (upon the restoration of the constitutional relation
between the United States, and their respective States, and people, if that relation shall have been suspended or disturbed)
be compensated for all losses by acts of the United States, including the loss of slaves.
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 twenty-second day of September, in the
year of our Lord, one thousand, eight hundred and sixty-two, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty seventh.
[Signed:] Abraham Lincoln
By the President
[Signed:] William H. Seward
Secretary of State
Source: Library of Congress
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'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.
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 below...
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
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
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.