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Understanding the Emancipation Proclamation
The Emancipation Proclamation
The Emancipation Proclamation consists of two executive orders issued by United States President Abraham Lincoln during the American Civil War. The first one, issued September 22, 1862, declared the freedom of all slaves in any state of the Confederate States of America that did not return to Union control by January 1, 1863. The second order, issued January 1, 1863, named the specific states where it applied.
A Short History of the Emancipation Proclamation
The Emancipation Proclamation was widely attacked at the time as freeing only the slaves over which the Union had no power. In practice, it committed the Union to ending slavery, which was a controversial decision in the North. Lincoln issued the Executive Order by his authority as "Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy" under Article II, section 2 of the United States Constitution.
The proclamation did not free any slaves of the border states (Kentucky, Missouri, Maryland, Delaware, and West Virginia), or any southern state (or part of a state) already under Union control. It first directly affected only those slaves who had already escaped to the Union side. Hearing of the Proclamation, more slaves quickly escaped to Union lines as the Army units moved South. As the Union armies conquered the Confederacy, thousands of slaves were freed each day until nearly all (approximately 4 million, according to the 1860 census) were freed by July 1865.
In this, Lincoln's proclamation echoed that issued at the beginning of the American War for Independence by Virginia's royal governor, John Murray, Earl of Dunmore. Lord Dunmore's Proclamation (dated November 7, 1775) declared "all indentured Servants, Negroes, or others, (appertaining to Rebels,) free, that are able and willing to bear Arms" for King George III. Although it applied only to slaves belonging to rebels, it still inspired thousands of African slaves (regardless of whether their masters were rebels or loyalists) to join the British Army throughout the war in hopes of earning their freedom.
After the war, abolitionists were concerned that since the proclamation was a war measure, it had not permanently ended slavery. Several former slave states passed legislation prohibiting slavery; however, some slavery continued to exist until the institution was ended by the sufficient states' ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment on December 18, 1865.
Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation: The End of Slavery in America
"The complex story of how the war to preserve the Union evolved into a war to give that Union 'a new birth of freedom' has been told many times -- but never so well."-- James M. McPherson
The Results of the Proclamation
By the Emancipation Proclamation 3,063,392 slaves were set free, as follows:
North Carolina 275,081
South Carolina 402,541
Virginia (part) 450,437
Louisiana (part) 247,734
The institution of slavery was not disturbed by the proclamation in eight States, which contained 831,780 slaves, distributed as follows:
Louisiana (part) 85,281
West Virginia 12,761
Virginia (part) 29,013
The remainder were emancipated by the Thirteenth Amendment to the national Constitution, making the whole number set free 3,895,172.
Excerpts from the Emancipation Proclamation
This proclamation was delivered on Jan. 1, 1863. By the President of the United States of America:
Whereas on the 22nd day of September, A.D. 1862, a proclamation was issued by the President of the United States, containing, among other things, the following, to wit:
Slaves Set Free
"That on the 1st day of January, A.D. 1863, 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.
Biography - Abraham Lincoln: Preserving the Union - A&E DVD Archives
Defining a Rebellious State
"That the executive will on the 1st day of January aforesaid, by proclamation, designate the States and parts 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 States 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."
The Emancipation Proclamation: Three Views - Conflicting Worlds: New Dimensions of the American Civil War
The authors (Holzer, Edna Greene Medford, and Frank J. Williams) will be familiar names to readers of Civil War material; each of these historians occasionally discusses the conflict on C-SPAN. Therefore, their essays about the Emancipation Proclamation, the political and moral cynosure of the war, will be greeted with interest. Independent scholar Holzer's essay is the most instantly accessible, interpreting the visual imagery of Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. Holzer's explanations of a print or statue's creation contain many a curiosity, such as Lincoln's cooperation in the production of the most recognizable image of the proclamation, painter Francis Carpenter's First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation. Williams, a judge, embeds the proclamation in its legal context, such as the Confiscation Acts that preceded it, and the Thirteenth Amendment that succeeded it. College professor Medford's more ruminative essay reaches for ambiguities that attend the proclamation, especially its remembrance amidst the postwar resubordination of blacks that dampened, but never entirely extinguished, the initial exultation in the freedom promised by the proclamation. For active Civil War collections.
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The Rebellious States
Now, therefore, 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 the authority and government of the United States, and as a fit and necessary war measure for suppressing said rebellion, do, on this 1st day of January, A.D. 1863, and in accordance with my purpose so to do, publicly proclaimed for the full period of one hundred days from the first day above mentioned, 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, to wit:
A List of the Rebellious States
Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana (except the parishes of St. Bernard, Palquemines, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. James, Ascension, Assumption, Terrebone, Lafourche, 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 Berkeley, Accomac, Morthhampton, Elizabeth City, York, Princess Anne, 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.
American Documents: The Emancipation Proclamation (American Documents)
This book describes the roots of slavery in the United States, and examines the reasons why certain people and states were for it, while others were opposed to it. It also explains why President Lincoln issued the proclamation when he did, whom the proclamation freed, and whom it did not, and some of the effects it had on future events. Readers learn about the differences between northern and southern economies, how slavery became a states rights issue, how Congress struggled to maintain a balance between free and slave states, and how Lincoln's election forced 11 southern states to leave the Union and hastened the beginning of the Civil War.
Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
Team of Rivals doesn't just tell the story of Abraham Lincoln. It is a multiple biography of the entire team of personal and political competitors that he put together to lead the country through its greatest crisis. Here, Doris Kearns Goodwin profiles five of the key players in her book, four of whom contended for the 1860 Republican presidential nomination and all of whom later worked together in Lincoln's cabinet.
Freed Slaves Equal
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 case when allowed, they labor faithfully for reasonable wages.
And I further declare and make known that such persons of suitable condition will be received into the armed service of the United States to garrison forts, positions, stations, and other places, and to man vessels of all sorts in said service.
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.
Abraham Lincoln: The Pressure for Emancipation
Abraham Lincoln: Preparing the Final Draft
Abraham Lincoln: Cabinet Discussions
Abraham Lincoln: Waiting for a Victory: Part A
Abraham Lincoln: Waiting for a Victory: Part B
Abraham Lincoln: The Proclamation: Part A
Abraham Lincoln: The Proclamation: Part B
Abraham Lincoln: Dark Days of December
Abraham Lincoln: New Years Day Reception
Abraham Lincoln: Signing the Proclamation
Abraham Lincoln: The Impact on the War: Part A
Abraham Lincoln: The Impact on the War: Part B
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