Emancipation Proclamation

(1862)

The Emancipation Proclamation, which was issued by U.S. President Abraham Lincoln on September 22, 1862 and took effect on January 1, 1863, freed all slaves in the states that constituted the Confederacy. The Emancipation Proclamation emphasizes that this action was a “war measure,” taken, in part, to protect the slaves who were being offered refuge in Union forts, garrisons, and vessels. The proclamation was also offered as a moral statement, as an “act of justice” in accordance with the U.S. Constitution, and as a “military necessity.” That President Abraham Lincoln was addressing not merely his countrymen and the rebels but the world and his maker as well is clear from the document's parting statement: “I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind, and the gracious favor of Almighty Lord.”

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The Emancipation Proclamation (National Archives and Records Administration)

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