1863 January 1

President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation Takes Effect


President Lincoln issued a preliminary proclamation in September 1862, declaring that “all persons held as slaves [in] the rebellious states” would be free if rebels did not stop fighting and rejoin the union by this day. None did, so the Proclamation took effect for those states. Although the final Proclamation did not end all slavery, it did allow for acceptance of African-Americans in the Union Army and Navy — and opened the door for eventual passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which outlawed all slavery and “involuntary servitude,” ratified on December 6, 1865.

The Proclamation: ” . . . 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; . . . .”

Read about the Proclamation: http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/featured_documents/emancipation_proclamation/

Learn more about Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation: Allen Guelzo, Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation: The End of Slavery in America (2004)

And more: Louis Masur, Lincoln’s Hundred Days: The Emancipation Proclamation and the War for the Union (2012)

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