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Abraham Lincoln, Emancipation Proclamation, Washington, DC, January 1, 1863

Abraham Lincoln, Brady image, 1863, detail
The Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863 culminated more than eighteen months of heated policy debates in Washington over how to prevent Confederates from using slavery to support their rebellion. Lincoln drafted his first version of the proclamation in mid-July 1862, following passage of the landmark Second Confiscation Act, though he did not make his executive order public until September 22, 1862, after the Union victory at Antietam. The January 1st proclamation then promised to free enslaved people in Confederate states (with some specific exceptions for certain --but not all-- areas under Union occupation) and authorized the immediate enlistment of black men in the Union military. The proclamation did not destroy slavery everywhere, but it marked a critical turning point in the effort to free slaves. (By Matthew Pinsker)


How to Cite This Page: "Abraham Lincoln, Emancipation Proclamation, Washington, DC, January 1, 1863," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College,