Emancipation Proclamation

Emancipation Proclamation

On September 22, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. This document pledged freedom to enslaved individuals in Confederate states not rejoining the Union by the end of the year.

At the beginning of the Civil War in 1861, people who opposed slavery asked Lincoln to set all enslaved people free. However, Lincoln wanted to keep the Union together rather than address slavery. He believed that announcing emancipation early in the war might have led more states, such as Missouri, Kentucky, and Maryland, to join the Confederacy. By 1862, though, Lincoln saw that it was important to face the problem of slavery.

Lincoln warned Confederate states that the proclamation was going to bar enslaved labor in September of 1862 and that they would lose their labor force. The final Emancipation Proclamation was issued on January 1, 1863.

The Emancipation Proclamation played a central role in reshaping the Civil War. While it couldn't free any enslaved people in Confederate-held territory or in the border states loyal to the Union, it symbolized a shift to a moral crusade against slavery. Moreover, it helped to recruit Black soldiers into the Union Army, with nearly 180,000 freed slaves joining the ranks. By August 1863, Lincoln recognized the impact of the proclamation on the nation and the importance of Black troops in weakening the Confederacy.

The Civil War ended with the surrender of the South in April 1865. The remaining slaves in the United States were officially freed with the approval of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution on December 6, 1865, which abolished slavery throughout the nation.

Source: Emancipation Proclamation
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