Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation
Text of Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation
Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation Transcription
President Abraham Lincoln and Emancipation Proclamation
Although the American Civil War (1861-1865) was fought with the singular
goal of reunification of the United States, meaning to force or compel the rebellious Southern states back into the Union,
abolishing slavery only became an objective in 1862, according to President Abraham Lincoln.
In July 1862, President Abraham Lincoln read his "preliminary proclamation"
to his Cabinet, but decided to wait for a Union military victory to issue it. On September 22, 1862, following the pyrrhic
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 on January 1, 1863.
Although grieved by the inhumanity of slavery, it was out of political
concerns that President Abraham Lincoln issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation and changed the course of the war
and American history. Announced one week after the nominal Federal victory at the Battle of Antietam, near Sharpsburg, Maryland,
this measure did not technically free any slaves, but it expanded the Union’s war aim from reunification of the nation to
include the abolition of slavery.
The proclamation announced that all slaves in territory that was still in
rebellion as of January 1, 1863, would be free. Lincoln used vacated congressional seats to determine the areas still in rebellion,
as some parts of the South had already been recaptured and representatives returned to Congress under Union supervision. Since
it freed slaves only in Rebel areas that were beyond Union occupation, the Emancipation Proclamation freed no one. But
the measure was still one of the most important acts in American history, as it meant slavery would end when those areas were
recaptured. In addition, the proclamation effectively undermined Confederate attempts to secure recognition by foreign governments,
especially Great Britain. When reunification was the goal of the North, foreigners could view the Confederates as freedom
fighters being held against their will by the Union. But after the Emancipation Proclamation, the Southern cause could now
be viewed as the defense of slavery. The proclamation was a shrewd maneuver by Lincoln to brand the Confederate States as
a slave nation and render foreign aid impossible.
The measure was met by significant opposition, however. Although the primary
goal of the war had always been reunification of the nation, many Northerners were now unwilling to fight in a conflict
that included the freedom of blacks as an objective. But it spelled the death knell for slavery, and it had the effect on British opinion
that Lincoln had desired. Antislavery Britain, which had abolished slavery with the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833, could
no longer recognize the Confederacy, and Union sentiment grew in Britain. With this measure, Lincoln effectively isolated
the Confederacy and killed the institution that was the root of sectional differences.
Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation
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
Sources: Library of Congress; National Archives; National Park Service; Official Records of the Union and
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.
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
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. 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: 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. Continued below...
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
Recommended Reading: Arguing
about Slavery: John Quincy Adams and the Great Battle in the United States Congress. Description: In the 1830s, slavery was so deeply entrenched that it could not even be discussed
in Congress, which had enacted a "gag rule" to ensure that anti-slavery petitions would be summarily rejected. This stirring
book chronicles the parliamentary battle to bring "the peculiar institution" into the national debate, a battle that some
historians have called "the Pearl Harbor of the slavery controversy." Continued below...
The campaign to make slavery officially and respectably debatable was waged by John Quincy Adams who spent
nine years defying gags, accusations of treason, and assassination threats. In the end he made his case through a combination
of cunning and sheer endurance. Telling this story with a brilliant command of detail, Arguing About Slavery endows history
with majestic sweep, heroism, and moral weight.
Recommended Reading: 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
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.
Lincoln and Chief Justice Taney: Slavery, Secession,
and the President's War Powers, by James F. Simon (Simon & Schuster). Publishers Weekly: This surprisingly taut and gripping book by NYU law professor Simon
(What Kind of Nation) examines the limits of presidential prerogative during the Civil War. Lincoln and Supreme Court Chief
Justice Roger Taney saw eye to eye on certain matters; both, for example, disliked slavery. But beginning in 1857, when Lincoln criticized Taney's decision in the Dred Scott case, the pair
began to spar. They diverged further once Lincoln became president when Taney insisted that
secession was constitutional and preferable to bloodshed, and blamed the Civil War on Lincoln.
In 1861, Taney argued that Lincoln's suspension of habeas
corpus was illegal. This holding was, Simon argues, "a clarion call for the president to respect the civil liberties of American
citizens." Continued below...
In an 1862
group of cases, Taney joined a minority opinion that Lincoln lacked the authority to order the seizure of Southern
ships. Had Taney had the chance, suggests Simon, he would have declared the Emancipation Proclamation unconstitutional; he
and Lincoln agreed that the Constitution left slavery up to individual states, but Lincoln
argued that the president's war powers trumped states' rights. Simon's focus on Lincoln and Taney makes for a dramatic, charged
narrative—and the focus on presidential war powers makes this historical study extremely timely.