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THE EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION
By Abraham Lincoln
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, towit:
"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
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.
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.
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.
DOUGLAS T. MILLER
Civil War Exhibits
Civil War Documents
Bibliography: Commager, Henry Steele, The Great Proclamation (1960); Donovan,
Frank, Mr. Lincoln's Proclamation (1964); Franklin, John Hope, ed., The Emancipation
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