Emancipation Proclamation, edict issued by U. Abraham Lincoln on January 1, , that freed the slaves of the Confederate states in rebellion against the Union. Emancipation ProclamationEmancipation Proclamation, NARA Before the start of the American Civil War , many people and leaders of the North had been primarily concerned merely with stopping the extension of slavery into western territories that would eventually achieve statehood within the Union. With the secession of the Southern states and the consequent start of the Civil War, however, the continued tolerance of Southern slavery by Northerners seemed no longer to serve any constructive political purpose. Emancipation thus quickly changed from a distant possibility to an imminent and feasible eventuality.
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The document applied only to enslaved people in the Confederacy, and not to those in the border states that remained loyal to the Union. 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. Opposition to the act led to the formation of the Republican Party in 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 Lincoln personally hated slavery, and considered it immoral.
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. 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. Lincoln also tried to get the border states to agree to gradual emancipation, including compensation to slaveholders, 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.
Lincoln had written a draft in late July, and while some of his advisers supported it, others were anxious. William H. On September 19, , Union troops halted the advance of Confederate forces led by Gen. Robert E. Lee near Sharpsburg, Maryland, in the Battle of Antietam. Lincoln justified emancipation as a wartime measure, and was careful to apply it only to the Confederate states currently in rebellion.
Exempt from the proclamation were the four border slave states and all or parts of three Confederate states controlled by the Union Army.
It also had practical effects: Nations like Britain and France, which had previously considered supporting the Confederacy to expand their power and influence, backed off due to their steadfast opposition to slavery. Black Americans were permitted to serve in the Union Army for the first time, and nearly , would do so by the end of the war. Finally, the Emancipation Proclamation paved the way for the permanent abolition of slavery in the United States. As Lincoln and his allies in Congress realized emancipation would have no constitutional basis after the war ended, they soon began working to enact a Constitutional amendment abolishing slavery.
By the end of January , both houses of Congress had passed the 13th Amendment , and it was ratified that December.
Emancipation Proclamation: Effects, Impacts, and Outcomes
Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, 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.
The Emancipation Proclamation
View in National Archives Catalog President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, , 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. It applied only to states that had seceded from the United States, leaving slavery untouched in the loyal border states. 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, , 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.
Constitution of Supreme Court. By the President of the United States of America A Proclamation 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 freedom. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. Mary, St.