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    Emancipation Proclamation

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    Emancipation Proclamation

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    This article is about United States history. For emancipation proclamations in other countries, see Abolition of slavery timeline.

    Proclamation 95

    Regarding the Status of Slaves in States Engaged in Rebellion Against the United States

    Henry Louis Stephens (c. 1863) untitled watercolor of a black man reading a newspaper with headline "Presidential Proclamation/Slavery"

    The five-page original document, held in the National Archives Building – until 1936 it had been bound with other proclamations in a large volume held by the Department of State[1]

    Other short titles Emancipation Proclamation

    Type Presidential proclamation

    Executive Order number unnumbered

    Signed by Abraham Lincoln on September 22, 1862


    During the American Civil War, enslaved people in the Confederate States of America declared "free"

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    The Emancipation Proclamation, officially Proclamation 95,[2][3] was a presidential proclamation and executive order issued by United States President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, during the Civil War. The Proclamation changed the legal status of more than 3.5 million enslaved African Americans in the secessionist Confederate states from enslaved to free. As soon as a slave escaped the control of his or her owner, either by running away across Union lines or through the advance of federal troops, the person was permanently free. In addition, the Proclamation allowed for the recruitment of former slaves into the paid service of the United States armed forces.

    On September 22, 1862, Lincoln issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.[4] Its third paragraph reads:

    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 freedom.

    On January 1, 1863, Lincoln issued the final Emancipation Proclamation.[5] After quoting from the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, it stated:

    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 authority and government of the United States, and as a fit and necessary war measure for suppressing said rebellion, do ... 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, towit:

    Lincoln then listed the ten states[6] still in rebellion, excluding parts of states under Union control, and continued:

    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.... [S]uch persons of suitable condition, will be received into the armed service of the United States.... 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....

    The proclamation was directed to all of the areas in rebellion and all segments of the executive branch (including the Army and Navy) of the United States.[7] It proclaimed the freedom of enslaved people in the ten states in rebellion.[8] Even though it excluded areas not in rebellion, it still applied to more than 3.5 million of the 4 million enslaved people in the country. Around 25,000 to 75,000 were immediately emancipated in those regions of the Confederacy where the US Army was already in place. It could not be enforced in the areas still in rebellion, but, as the Union army took control of Confederate regions, the Proclamation provided the legal framework for the liberation of more than three and a half million enslaved people in those regions through the end of the war. The Emancipation Proclamation outraged white Southerners and their sympathizers, who saw it as the beginning of a race war. It energized abolitionists, and undermined those Europeans who wanted to intervene to help the Confederacy.[9] The Proclamation lifted the spirits of African Americans both free and enslaved; it led many to escape from their masters and get to Union lines to obtain their freedom and to join the Union Army.[10] The Emancipation Proclamation became a historic document because it "would redefine the Civil War, turning it from a struggle to preserve the Union to one focused on ending slavery, and set a decisive course for how the nation would be reshaped after that historic conflict."[11]

    Source : en.wikipedia.org

    The Emancipation Proclamation

    Enlarge The Emancipation Proclamation (page 1) Record Group 11 General Records of the United States View in National Archives Catalog Español President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, as the nation approached its third year of bloody civil war. The proclamation declared "that all persons held as slaves" within the rebellious states

    The Emancipation Proclamation


    The Emancipation Proclamation (page 1) Record Group 11 General Records of the United States

    View in National Archives Catalog


    President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, as the nation approached its third year of bloody civil war. The proclamation declared "that all persons held as slaves" within the rebellious states "are, and henceforward shall be free."

    Despite this expansive wording, the Emancipation Proclamation was limited in many ways. It applied only to states that had seceded from the United States, leaving slavery untouched in the loyal border states. It also expressly exempted parts of the Confederacy (the Southern secessionist states) that had already come under Northern control. Most important, the freedom it promised depended upon Union (United States) military victory.

    Although the Emancipation Proclamation did not end slavery in the nation, it captured the hearts and imagination of millions of Americans and fundamentally transformed the character of the war. After January 1, 1863, every advance of federal troops expanded the domain of freedom. Moreover, the Proclamation announced the acceptance of black men into the Union Army and Navy, enabling the liberated to become liberators. By the end of the war, almost 200,000 black soldiers and sailors had fought for the Union and freedom.

    From the first days of the Civil War, slaves had acted to secure their own liberty. The Emancipation Proclamation confirmed their insistence that the war for the Union must become a war for freedom. It added moral force to the Union cause and strengthened the Union both militarily and politically. As a milestone along the road to slavery's final destruction, the Emancipation Proclamation has assumed a place among the great documents of human freedom.

    The original of the Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863, is in the National Archives in Washington, DC. With the text covering five pages the document was originally tied with narrow red and blue ribbons, which were attached to the signature page by a wafered impression of the seal of the United States. Most of the ribbon remains; parts of the seal are still decipherable, but other parts have worn off.

    The document was bound with other proclamations in a large volume preserved for many years by the Department of State. When it was prepared for binding, it was reinforced with strips along the center folds and then mounted on a still larger sheet of heavy paper. Written in red ink on the upper right-hand corner of this large sheet is the number of the Proclamation, 95, given to it by the Department of State long after it was signed. With other records, the volume containing the Emancipation Proclamation was transferred in 1936 from the Department of State to the National Archives of the United States.

    The Emancipation Proclamation

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    Select Resources

    Transcript of the Proclamation

    The Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, 1862

    "The Emancipation Proclamation: An Act of Justice" by John Hope Franklin.

    The Charters of Freedom

    The National Archives’ annual display of the Emancipation Proclamation is made possible in part by the National Archives Foundation through the generous support of The Boeing Company.

    Source : www.archives.gov

    Emancipation Proclamation

    Issued after the Union victory at Antietam on September 22, 1862, the Emancipation Proclamation carried moral and strategic implications for the ongoing Civil War. While it did not free a single enslaved person, it was an important turning point in the war, transforming the fight to preserve the nation into a battle for human freedom.

    Emancipation Proclamation

    Author: History.com Editors Updated: Jan 26, 2022 Original: Jan 6, 2020

    Alex Wong/AFP/Getty Images


    Abe Lincoln's Developing Views on Slavery

    First Years of the Civil War

    From Preliminary to Formal Emancipation Proclamation

    Impact of the Emancipation Proclamation


    On September 22, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, which declared that as of January 1, 1863, all enslaved people in the states currently engaged in rebellion against the Union “shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.”

    Lincoln didn’t actually free all of the approximately 4 million men, women and children held in slavery in the United States when he signed the formal Emancipation Proclamation the following January. The document applied only to enslaved people in the Confederacy, and not to those in the border states that remained loyal to the Union.

    But although it was presented chiefly as a military measure, the proclamation marked a crucial shift in Lincoln’s views on slavery. Emancipation would redefine the Civil War, turning it from a struggle to preserve the Union to one focused on ending slavery, and set a decisive course for how the nation would be reshaped after that historic conflict.

    READ MORE: Slavery in America

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    Abe Lincoln's Developing Views on Slavery

    Sectional tensions over slavery in the United States had been building for decades by 1854, when Congress’ passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act opened territory that had previously been closed to slavery according to the Missouri Compromise. Opposition to the act led to the formation of the Republican Party in 1854 and revived the failing political career of an Illinois lawyer named Abraham Lincoln, who rose from obscurity to national prominence and claimed the Republican nomination for president in 1860.

    Lincoln personally hated slavery, and considered it immoral. "If the negro is a man, why then my ancient faith teaches me that 'all men are created equal;' and that there can be no moral right in connection with one man's making a slave of another," he said in a now-famous speech in Peoria, Illinois, in 1854. But Lincoln didn’t believe the Constitution gave the federal government the power to abolish it in the states where it already existed, only to prevent its establishment to new western territories that would eventually become states. In his first inaugural address in early 1861, he declared that he had “no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with slavery in the States where it exists.” By that time, however, seven Southern states had already seceded from the Union, forming the Confederate States of America and setting the stage for the Civil War.

    READ MORE: 5 Things You May Not Know About Abraham Lincoln, Slavery and Emancipation

    First Years of the Civil War

    At the outset of that conflict, Lincoln insisted that the war was not about freeing enslaved people in the South but about preserving the Union. Four border slave states (Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky and Missouri) remained on the Union side, and many others in the North also opposed abolition. When one of his generals, John C. Frémont, put Missouri under martial law, declaring that Confederate sympathizers would have their property seized, and their enslaved people would be freed (the first emancipation proclamation of the war), Lincoln directed him to reverse that policy, and later removed him from command.

    But hundreds of enslaved men, women and children were fleeing to Union-controlled areas in the South, such as Fortress Monroe in Virginia, where Gen. Benjamin F. Butler had declared them “contraband” of war, defying the Fugitive Slave Law mandating their return to their owners. Abolitionists argued that freeing enslaved people in the South would help the Union win the war, as enslaved labor was vital to the Confederate war effort.

    In July 1862, Congress passed the Militia Act, which allowed Black men to serve in the U.S. armed forces as laborers, and the Confiscation Act, which mandated that enslaved people seized from Confederate supporters would be declared forever free. Lincoln also tried to get the border states to agree to gradual emancipation, including compensation to enslavers, with little success. When abolitionists criticized him for not coming out with a stronger emancipation policy, Lincoln replied that he valued saving the Union over all else.

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    “My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union and is not either to save or to destroy slavery,” he wrote in an editorial published in the Daily National Intelligencer in August 1862. “If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that.”

    Source : www.history.com

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