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

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 ten specific states where it would apply. 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.[1]

The Emancipation Proclamation was criticized at the time for freeing only the slaves over which the Union had no power. Although most slaves were not freed immediately, the Proclamation brought freedom to thousands of slaves the day it went into effect[2] in parts of nine of the ten states to which it applied (Texas being the exception).[3]

Additionally, the Proclamation provided the legal framework for the emancipation of nearly all four million slaves as the Union armies advanced, and committed the Union to ending slavery, which was a controversial decision even in the North. The proclamation did not name the slave-holding border states of Kentucky, Missouri, Maryland, or Delaware, which had never declared a secession, and so it did not free any slaves there. The state of Tennessee had already mostly returned to Union control, so it also was not named and was exempted. Virginia was named, but exemptions were specified for the 48 counties that were in the process of forming West Virginia, as well as seven other named counties and two cities. Also specifically exempted were New Orleans and thirteen named parishes of Louisiana, all of which were also already mostly under Federal control at the time of the Proclamation.

However, in other Union-occupied areas of Confederate states besides Tennessee, the Proclamation went into immediate effect and at least 20,000 slaves[2][3] were freed at once on January 1, 1863. 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[4]) were freed by July 1865.

Near the end of the war, abolitionists were concerned that while the Proclamation had freed most slaves as a war measure, it had not made slavery illegal. Several former slave states had already passed legislation prohibiting slavery; however, in a few states, slavery continued to be legal, and to exist, until December 18, 1865, when the Thirteenth Amendment was enacted.

Contents

Background

Edwin Stanton (Secretary of War) Salmon Chase (Treasury secretary) President Lincoln Gideon Welles (Secretary of the navy) William Seward (Secretary of State) Caleb B. Smith (Cabinet) Montgomery Blair (Cabinet) Edward Bates (Attorney General) Emancipation Proclamation draft Unknown Painting use cursor to explore or button to enlarge
Lincoln met with his cabinet on July 22, 1862 for the first reading of a draft of the Emancipation Proclamation.

The Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 required individuals to return runaway slaves to their owners. During the war, Union generals such as Benjamin Butler, declared that slaves in occupied areas were contraband of war and accordingly refused to return them. This decision was controversial because it implied recognition of the Confederacy as a separate nation under international law, a notion that Lincoln steadfastly denied. As a result, he did not promote the contraband designation. Some generals also declared the slaves under their jurisdiction to be free and were replaced when they refused to rescind such declarations.

The Republicans moved gradually toward ending slavery. On March 13, 1862, Lincoln forbade Union Army officers from returning fugitive slaves. On April 10, 1862, Congress declared that the federal government would compensate slave owners who freed their slaves. Slaves in the District of Columbia were freed on April 16, 1862 and their owners were compensated. On June 19, 1862, Congress prohibited slavery in United States territories. By this act, they opposed the 1857 ruling of the Supreme Court of the United States in the Dred Scott Case that Congress was powerless to regulate slavery in U.S. territories.

In January 1862, Thaddeus Stevens, the Republican leader in the House, called for total war against the rebellion to include emancipation of slaves, arguing that emancipation, by forcing the loss of enslaved labor, would ruin the rebel economy. In July 1862, Congress passed and Lincoln signed the "Second Confiscation Act." It liberated slaves held by "rebels".[5] It provided:

SEC. 2. And be it further enacted, That if any person shall hereafter incite, set on foot, assist, or engage in any rebellion or insurrection against the authority of the United States, or the laws thereof, or shall give aid or comfort thereto, or shall engage in, or give aid and comfort to, any such existing rebellion or insurrection, and be convicted thereof, such person shall be punished by imprisonment for a period not exceeding ten years, or by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars, and by the liberation of all his slaves, if any he have; or by both of said punishments, at the discretion of the court.

...
SEC. 9. And be it further enacted, That all slaves of persons who shall hereafter be engaged in rebellion against the government of the United States, or who shall in any way give aid or comfort thereto, escaping from such persons and taking refuge within the lines of the army; and all slaves captured from such persons or deserted by them and coming under the control of the government of the United States; and all slaves of such person found or being within any place occupied by rebel forces and afterwards occupied by the forces of the United States, shall be deemed captives of war, and shall be forever free of their servitude, and not again held as slaves.

Abolitionists had long been urging Lincoln to free all slaves. A mass rally in Chicago on September 7, 1862, demanded an immediate and universal emancipation of slaves. A delegation headed by William W. Patton met the President at the White House on September 13. Lincoln had declared in peacetime that he had no constitutional authority to free the slaves. Even used as a war power, emancipation was a risky political act. Public opinion as a whole was against it.[6] There would be strong opposition among Copperhead Democrats and an uncertain reaction from loyal border states. Delaware and Maryland already had a high percentage of free blacks: 91.2% and 49.7%, respectively, in 1860.[7]

Lincoln first discussed the proclamation with his cabinet in July 1862. He believed he needed a Union victory on the battlefield so his decision would appear positive and strong. The Battle of Antietam, in which Union troops turned back a Confederate invasion of Maryland, gave him the opportunity to issue a preliminary proclamation on September 22, 1862. Lincoln had first shown an early draft of the proclamation to his Vice president Hannibal Hamlin,[8] an ardent abolitionist, who was more often kept in the dark on presidential decisions. The final proclamation was issued January 1, 1863. Although implicitly granted authority by Congress, Lincoln used his powers as Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy, "as a necessary war measure" as the basis of the proclamation, rather than the equivalent of a statute enacted by Congress or a constitutional amendment.

Reproduction of the Emancipation Proclamation at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio

Initially, the Emancipation Proclamation effectively freed only a small percentage of the slaves, those who were behind Union lines in areas not exempted. Most slaves were still behind Confederate lines or in exempted Union-occupied areas. Secretary of State William H. Seward commented, "We show our sympathy with slavery by emancipating slaves where we cannot reach them and holding them in bondage where we can set them free." Had any slave state ended its secession attempt before January 1, 1863, it could have kept slavery, at least temporarily. The Proclamation only gave Lincoln the legal basis to free the slaves in the areas of the South that were still in rebellion. However, it also took effect as the Union armies advanced into the Confederacy.

The Emancipation Proclamation also allowed for the enrollment of freed slaves into the United States military. During the war nearly 200,000 blacks, most of them ex-slaves, joined the Union Army. Their contributions gave the North additional manpower that was significant in winning the war. The Confederacy did not allow slaves in their army as soldiers until the final months before its defeat.

Though the counties of Virginia that were soon to form West Virginia were specifically exempted from the Proclamation (Jefferson County being the only exception), a condition of the state's admittance to the Union was that its constitution provide for the gradual abolition of slavery. Slaves in the border states of Maryland and Missouri were also emancipated by separate state action before the Civil War ended. In Maryland, a new state constitution abolishing slavery in the state went into effect on November 1, 1864. In early 1865, Tennessee adopted an amendment to its constitution prohibiting slavery.[9][10] Slaves in Kentucky and Delaware were not emancipated until the Thirteenth Amendment was ratified.

Implementation

Areas covered by the Emancipation Proclamation are in red. Slave holding areas not covered are in blue.

The Proclamation was issued in two parts. The first part, issued on September 22, 1862, was a preliminary announcement outlining the intent of the second part, which officially went into effect 100 days later on January 1, 1863, during the second year of the Civil War. It was Abraham Lincoln's declaration that all slaves would be permanently freed in all areas of the Confederacy that had not already returned to federal control by January 1863. The ten affected states were individually named in the second part (South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina). Not included were the Union slave states of Maryland, Delaware, Missouri and Kentucky. Also not named was the state of Tennessee, which was at the time more or less evenly split between Union and Confederacy. Specific exemptions were stated for areas also under Union control on January 1, 1863, namely 48 counties that would soon become West Virginia, seven other named counties of Virginia including Berkeley and Hampshire counties which were soon added to West Virginia, New Orleans and 13 named parishes nearby.

Union-occupied areas of the Confederate states where the proclamation was put into immediate effect by local commanders included Winchester, Virginia[11], Corinth, Mississippi [12], the Sea Islands along the coasts of the Carolinas and Georgia[13], Key West, Florida [14], and Port Royal, South Carolina [15].

Immediate impact

It is common to encounter the claim that the Emancipation Proclamation did not immediately free a single slave. This statement may be found at such government and media websites as a National Park Service page[16], and a user-generated wiki run by the BBC[17]. However, the claim directly conflicts with multiple eyewitness accounts of celebrations where thousands of blacks were informed of their new legal status of freedom, for example at Hilton Head, South Carolina[18] and Port Royal, South Carolina [15].

Estimates of the number of slaves freed immediately by the Emancipation Proclamation are uncertain. But "a contemporary estimate put the 'contraband' population of Union-occupied North Carolina at 10,000, and the Sea Islands of South Carolina also had a substantial population. It seems likely therefore that at least 20,000 slaves were freed immediately by the Emancipation Proclamation."[2] This Union-occupied zone where freedom began at once included "areas in eastern North Carolina, the Mississippi Valley . . . the Tennessee Valley of northern Alabama, the Shenandoah Valley, a large region of Arkansas, and the Sea Islands of Georgia and South Carolina"[19] Although some counties of Union-occupied Virginia were exempted from the Proclamation, "the lower Shenandoah Valley, and the area around Alexandria" were not.[2]

Booker T. Washington, as a boy of 9 in Virginia, remembered the day in early 1865:[20]

As the great day drew nearer, there was more singing in the slave quarters than usual. It was bolder, had more ring, and lasted later into the night. Most of the verses of the plantation songs had some reference to freedom.... Some man who seemed to be a stranger (a United States officer, I presume) made a little speech and then read a rather long paper—the Emancipation Proclamation, I think. After the reading we were told that we were all free, and could go when and where we pleased. My mother, who was standing by my side, leaned over and kissed her children, while tears of joy ran down her cheeks. She explained to us what it all meant, that this was the day for which she had been so long praying, but fearing that she would never live to see.

The Emancipation took place without violence by masters or ex-slaves. The proclamation represented a shift in the war objectives of the North—reuniting the nation was no longer the only goal. It represented a major step toward the ultimate abolition of slavery in the United States and a "new birth of freedom".

Runaway slaves who had escaped to Union lines had previously been held by the Union Army as "contraband of war" under the Confiscation Acts; when the proclamation took effect, they were told at midnight that they were free to leave. The Sea Islands off the coast of Georgia were occupied by the Union Navy earlier in the war. The whites had fled to the mainland while the blacks stayed. An early program of Reconstruction was set up for the former slaves, including schools and training. Naval officers read the proclamation and told them they were free.

In the military, reaction to the proclamation varied widely, with some units nearly ready to mutiny in protest. Some desertions were attributed to it. Other units were inspired by the adoption of a cause that ennobled their efforts, such that at least one unit took up the motto "For Union and Liberty".

Slaves had been part of the "engine of war" for the Confederacy. They produced and prepared food; sewed uniforms; repaired railways; worked on farms and in factories, shipping yards, and mines; built fortifications; and served as hospital workers and common laborers. News of the Proclamation spread rapidly by word of mouth, arousing hopes of freedom, creating general confusion, and encouraging thousands to escape to Union lines.

Political impact

Lincoln plays the trump card—an 1862 cartoon by the Englishman John Tenniel often reprinted in the Copperhead press, note the horns.

The Proclamation was immediately denounced by Copperhead Democrats who opposed the war and tolerated both secession and slavery. It became a campaign issue in the 1862 elections, in which the Democrats gained 28 seats in the House as well as the governorship of New York. Many War Democrats who had supported Lincoln's goal of saving the Union, balked at supporting emancipation. Lincoln's Gettysburg Address in November 1863 made indirect reference to the Proclamation and the ending of slavery as a war goal with the phrase "new birth of freedom". The Proclamation solidified Lincoln's support among the rapidly growing abolitionist element of the Republican Party and ensured they would not block his re-nomination in 1864.[21]

International impact

As Lincoln had hoped, the Proclamation turned foreign popular opinion in favor of the Union by adding the ending of slavery as a goal of the war. That shift ended the Confederacy's hopes of gaining official recognition, particularly from the United Kingdom, which had abolished slavery. Prior to Lincoln's decree, Britain's actions had favored the Confederacy, especially in its provision of British-built warships such as the CSS Alabama and CSS Florida. Furthermore, the North's determination to win at all costs was creating problems diplomatically; the Trent Affair particularly had caused severe tensions between the Union and Great Britain. For the Confederacy to receive official recognition by foreign powers would have been a further blow to the North's diplomatic standing.

With the war now cast in terms of freedom against slavery, British or French support for the Confederacy would have been seen as tantamount to supporting slavery, which both of these nations had abolished. As Henry Adams noted, "The Emancipation Proclamation has done more for us than all our former victories and all our diplomacy." Giuseppe Garibaldi hailed Lincoln as "the heir of the aspirations of John Brown". On August 6, 1863 Garibaldi wrote to Lincoln: Posterity will call you the great emancipator, a more enviable title than any crown could be, and greater than any merely mundane treasure.[22]

Alan Van Dyke, a representative for workers from Manchester, England, wrote to Lincoln saying, "We joyfully honor you for many decisive steps toward practically exemplifying your belief in the words of your great founders: 'All men are created free and equal.'" The Emancipation Proclamation served to ease tensions with Europe over the North's conduct of the war, and combined with the recent failed Southern offensive at Antietam to cut off any practical chance for the Confederacy to receive international support in the war.

Postbellum

Emancipation from Freedmen's viewpoint; illustration from Harper's Weekly 1865

Near the end of the war, abolitionists were concerned that the Emancipation Proclamation would be construed solely as a war act and no longer apply once fighting ended. They were also increasingly anxious to secure the freedom of all slaves, not just those freed by the Emancipation Proclamation. Thus pressed, Lincoln staked a large part of his 1864 presidential campaign on a constitutional amendment to abolish slavery uniformly throughout the United States. Lincoln's campaign was bolstered by separate votes in both Maryland and Missouri to abolish slavery in those states. Maryland's new constitution abolishing slavery took effect in November 1864. Slavery in Missouri was ended by executive proclamation of its governor, Thomas C. Fletcher, on January 11, 1865.

Winning re-election, Lincoln pressed the lame duck 38th Congress to pass the proposed amendment immediately rather than wait for the incoming 39th Congress to convene. In January 1865, Congress sent to the state legislatures for ratification what became the Thirteenth Amendment, banning slavery in all U.S. states and territories. The amendment was ratified by the legislatures of enough states by December 6, 1865 and proclaimed 12 days later. There were about 40,000 slaves in Kentucky and 1,000 in Delaware who were liberated then.[4]

In the years after Lincoln's death, his action in the proclamation was lauded. The anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation was celebrated as a black holiday for more than 50 years; the holiday of Juneteenth was created in some states to honor it.[23] In 1913, the fiftieth anniversary of the Proclamation, there were particularly large celebrations. As the years went on and American life continued to be deeply unfair towards blacks, cynicism towards Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation increased.

Some 20th century black intellectuals, including W. E. B. Du Bois, James Baldwin and Julius Lester, described the proclamation as essentially worthless. Perhaps the strongest attack was Lerone Bennett's Forced into Glory: Abraham Lincoln's White Dream (2000), which claimed that Lincoln was a white supremacist who issued the Emancipation Proclamation in lieu of the real racial reforms for which radical abolitionists pushed.

In his Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, Allen C. Guelzo noted the professional historians' lack of substantial respect for the document, since it has been the subject of few major scholarly studies. He argued that Lincoln was America's "last Enlightenment politician"[24] and as such was dedicated to removing slavery strictly within the bounds of law.

Other historians have given more credit to Lincoln for what he accomplished within the tensions of his cabinet and a society at war, for his own growth in political and moral stature, and for the promise he held out to the slaves.[25] More might have been accomplished if he had not been assassinated. As Eric Foner wrote:

Lincoln was not an abolitionist or Radical Republican, a point Bennett reiterates innumerable times. He did not favor immediate abolition before the war, and held racist views typical of his time. But he was also a man of deep convictions when it came to slavery, and during the Civil War displayed a remarkable capacity for moral and political growth.[26]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Crowther p. 651
  2. ^ a b c d Keith Poulter, "Slaves Immediately Freed by the Emancipation Proclamation" North & South vol. 5 no. 1 (December 2001), p. 48
  3. ^ a b William C. Harris, "After the Emancipation Proclamation: Lincoln's Role in the Ending of Slavery", North & South vol. 5 no. 1 (December 2001), map on p. 49
  4. ^ a b http://www.sonofthesouth.net/slavery/slave-maps/slave-census.htm 1860 Census, Son of the South
  5. ^ Original Text
  6. ^ Guelzo, Allen C. Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, 2004, pg. 18
  7. ^ Peter Kolchin, American Slavery: 1619-1877, New York: Hill and Wang, 1994, p.82
  8. ^ Bangor In Focus: Hannibal Hamlin
  9. ^ Freedmen and Southern Society Project: Chronology of Emancipation
  10. ^ TSLA::This Honorable Body: African American Legislators in 19th Century Tennessee
  11. ^ Richard Duncan, Beleaguered Winchester: A Virginia Community at War (Baton Rouge, LA: LSU Press, 2007), pp. 139-40
  12. ^ Ira Berlin et al., eds, Freedom: A Documentary History of Emancipation 1861-1867, Vol. 1: The Destruction of Slavery (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1985), p. 260
  13. ^ William Klingaman, Abraham Lincoln and the Road to Emancipation, 1861-1865 (NY: Viking Press, 2001), p. 234
  14. ^ "Important From Key West", New York Times February 4, 1863, p. 1
  15. ^ a b "Interesting from Port Royal", New York Times January 9, 1863, p. 2
  16. ^ Freedom at Antietam - The Emancipation Proclamation
  17. ^ The Life of Abraham Lincoln - 16th President of the United States
  18. ^ "News from South Carolina: Negro Jubilee at Hilton Head", New York Herald, January 7, 1863, p.5
  19. ^ Harris, "After the Emancipation Proclamation", p. 45
  20. ^ [Up from Slavery (1901) pp19-21]
  21. ^ Allan Nevins, Ordeal of the Union: vol 6. War Becomes Revolution, 1862-1863 (1960)
  22. ^ Mack Smith, p. 72
  23. ^ Guelzo, p. 244.
  24. ^ Guelzo, p. 3.
  25. ^ Doris Kearns Goodwin, A Team of Rivals, New York: Simon & Schuster, 2005
  26. ^ Foner, Eric (April 9, 2000). "review of Forced into Glory: Abraham Lincoln's White Dream by Lerone Bennett, Jr.". Los Angeles Times Book Review. http://www.ericfoner.com/reviews/040900latimes.html. Retrieved Jun 30, 2008.  

References

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Study guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiversity

== By the President of the United States of America: A PROCLAMATION ==

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:

"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.

"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."

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 supressing 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:

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.

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.


Analysis On Jan. 1, 1863, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln declared free all slaves residing in territory in rebellion against the federal government. This Emancipation Proclamation actually freed few people. It did not apply to slaves in border states fighting on the Union side; nor did it affect slaves in southern areas already under Union control. Naturally, the states in rebellion did not act on Lincoln's order. But the proclamation did show Americans-- and the world--that the civil war was now being fought to end slavery.

Lincoln had been reluctant to come to this position. A believer in white supremacy, he initially viewed the war only in terms of preserving the Union. As pressure for abolition mounted in Congress and the country, however, Lincoln became more sympathetic to the idea. On Sept. 22, 1862, he issued a preliminary proclamation announcing that emancipation would become effective on Jan. 1, 1863, in those states still in rebellion. Although the Emancipation Proclamation did not end slavery in America--this was achieved by the passage of the 13TH Amendment to the Constitution on Dec. 18, 1865--it did make that accomplishment a basic war goal and a virtual certainty.


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The Emancipation Proclamation
by Abraham Lincoln
The Emancipation Proclamation consists of two executive orders issued by United States President Abraham Lincoln during the American Civil War. The first one, issued on September 22, 1862, declared the freedom of all slaves in any state of the Confederate States of America as did not return to Union control by January 1, 1863, and the second one, issued on January 1, 1863, enumerated the specific states where it applied. — Excerpted from Emancipation Proclamation on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
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A reproduction of the Emancipation Proclamation
Empancipation proclomation.jpg

By the President of the United States of America:

The Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation (September 22, 1862)

By the President of the United States of America
A PROCLAMATION

I, abraham lincoln, President of the United States of america, and Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy thereof, do hereby proclaim and declare that hereafter, as heretofore, the war will be prosecuted for the object of practically restoring the constitutional relation between the United States, and each of the states, and the people thereof, in which states that relation is, or may be suspended or disturbed.

That it is my purpose, upon the next meeting of Congress to again recommend the adoption of a practical measure tendering pecuniary aid to the free acceptance or rejection of all slave-states, so called, the people whereof may not then be in rebellion against the United States, and which states [and] may then have voluntarily adopted, or thereafter may voluntarily adopt, immediate, or gradual abolishment of slavery within their respective limits; and that the effort to colonize persons of African descent [with the consent] upon this continent, or elsewhere, [with the previously obtained consent of the governments existing there elsewhere,] will be continued.

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 thenceforward, and forever free; and the executive government of the United States [including the military and naval authority thereof] will, during the continuance in office of the present incumbents, recognize [and maintain the freedom of] such persons, as being free, 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.

That the executive will, on the first 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 state 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.

That attention is hereby called to an Act of Congress entitled "An Act to make an additional Article of War" Approved March 13, 1862, and which act is in the words and figure following:

"Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled. that hereafter the following shall be promulgated as an additional article of war for the government of the Army of the United States, and shall be obeyed and observed as such:
Article-. All officers or persons in the military or naval services of the United States are prohibited from employing any of the forces under their respective commands for the purpose of returning fugitive from service or labor, who may have escaped from any persons to whom such service or labor is claimed to be due and any officer who shall be found guilty by a court martial of violating this article shall be dismissed from the service.
SEC.2. And be it further enacted, that this act shall take effect from and after its passage."

Also to the ninth and tenth sections of an act entitled "An Act to suppress Insurrection, to punish Treason and Rebellion, to seize and confiscate property of rebels, and for other purposes," approved July 17, 1862, and which sections are:

"SEC. 9. And be it further enacted, that all slaves of persons who shall hereafter be engaged in rebellion against the government of the United States, or who shall in any way give aid or comfort thereto, escaping from such persons and taking refuge within the lines of the army; and all slaves captured from such persons or deserted by them and coming under the control of the government of the United States; and all slaves of such persons found [or] being within any place occupied by rebel forces and afterwards occupied by the forces of the United States, shall be deemed captives of war, and shall be forever free of their servitude, and not again held as slaves.
"SEC. 10. And be it further enacted, That no slave escaping into any State, Territory, or the District of Columbia, from any other State, shall be delivered up, or in any way impeded or hindered of his liberty, except for crime, or some offence against the laws, unless the person claiming said fugitive shall first make oath that the person to whom the labor or service of such fugitive is alleged to be due is his lawful owner, and has not borne arms against the United States in the present rebellion, nor in any way given aid and comfort thereto; and no person engaged in the military or naval service of the United States shall, under any pretence whatever, assume to decide on the validity of the claim of any person to the service or labor of any other person, or surrender up any such person to the claimant, on pain of being dismissed from the service."

And I do hereby enjoin upon and order all persons engaged in the military and naval service of the United States to observe, obey, and enforce, within their respective spheres of service, the act and sections above recited.

And the executive will [in due time] [at the next session of congress] recommend that all citizens of the United States who shall have remained loyal thereto throughout the rebellion, shall (upon the restoration of the constitutional relation between the United States, and their respective states, and people, if that relation shall have been suspended or disturbed) be compensated for all losses by acts of the United States, including the loss of slaves.

A.L.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. Done at the City of Washington, this twenty second day of September, in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and sixty two, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty seventh.

Abraham Lincoln [signature]

By the President:
William H. Seward
Secretary of State

The Final Emancipation Proclamation (January 1, 1863)

A PROCLAMATION

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:

"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.

"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."

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:

Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana (except the parishes of St. Bernard, Plaquemines, 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, Northhampton, 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.

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.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the eighty-seventh.

By the President: ABRAHAM LINCOLN

WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.


Simple English

The Emancipation Proclamation was an order by U.S. President Abraham Lincoln. It ordered the freedom of all slaves in the states still in rebellion during the American Civil War. It did not actually immediately free all those slaves, because those areas were still controlled by the Confederacy. It did, however, come into effect as the Union army advanced into the Confederate states. This made the Civil War a war of emancipation. Slave states that had remained loyal to the Union (the Border States) did not have to free their slaves. It did apply to areas where Union forces already controlled. Until the U.S. Constitution was amended in 1865, only the states had power to end slavery within their own borders, so Lincoln issued the proclamation as a war measure in his role as commander-in-chief.

The Proclamation

The Proclamation was issued in two parts. On September 22, 1862, Lincoln said that in 100 days, he would free all slaves in areas not then under Union control. On January 1, 1863, he named the areas to which the proclamation would then apply. The five border states where slavery was still legal were exempt because they had remained loyal to the Union and were not in rebellion. Tennessee and the vicinity of New Orleans were exempt because Union forces had already regained control there.

“[…] 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 not act to repress such persons […]”
“Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana [except some named parishes], Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia, (except the forty-eight counties designated as West Virginia [and some other counties in VA])”[1]

Only a small number of slaves already behind Union lines were immediately freed. As Union forces advanced, nearly all four million slaves were effectively freed. Some former slaves joined the Union army.

Before the war was over, some of the exempted border states ended slavery within their own borders. While the Proclamation had freed slaves, it had not made slavery illegal. Thus, Lincoln sponsored a constitutional amendment to ban slavery. The Thirteenth Amendment, making slavery illegal everywhere in the United States, was passed late in 1865, eight months after Lincoln was assassinated.

References

  1. http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/featured_documents/emancipation_proclamation/transcript.html







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