Emancipation Proclamation

On this day in 1862, the following proclamation was issued by President Abraham Lincoln:


By the President of the United States of America:

A Proclamation.

Whereas, on the twenty-second day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, a proclamation was issued by the President of the United States, containing, among other things, the following, to wit:

“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 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 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.”
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 first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and in accordance with my purpose so to do publicly proclaimed for the full period of one hundred days, from the day first 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, Terrebonne, 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 Berkley, Accomac, Northampton, Elizabeth City, York, Princess Ann, 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 cases 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.

Comments

  1. #1 Sideshow Bill
    September 22, 2010

    And southern conservatives have been pissed ever since!

    Abraham Lincoln FTW!!! (although he didn’t free all states and areas)

  2. #2 gwen
    September 23, 2010

    Six of my sixteen great great grandparents were freed by the proclamation. The rest were either never slaves or freed before the start of the Civil War. I have ancestors who fought on both sides of the conflict. And yes Bill, I still run into Southerners who are still fighting the war, and mourning their gentile antebellum times, which in truth were experienced on the backs of the slaves, and ‘enjoyed’ by very few. It appalls me that we can still have a movie about the Civil War (Cold Mountain) and leave slaves completely out as if slavery had nothing to do with it.

  3. #3 Stephen Moore
    September 23, 2010

    So, if I am understanding the wording of the Proclamation correctly, did this mean that those slaves in States or parts of States that were not in rebellion remained in their position of slavery?

  4. #4 Greg Laden
    September 23, 2010

    Stephen Moore, that is correct as I understand it. And (there were more parts of this document to be issued over several months) it got right down to counties THe counties of Virginia that were to form W. Virginia, slave free, were exempted. Most of Tennessee, parts of La, etc. were already in Union hands so they were exempted.

    Abolition came wiht the 13th amendment adopted at the end of 1865.

  5. #5 Greg Laden
    September 23, 2010

    Oh, and it is worth pointing out that this is normal. When people look at the health care reform bill or some other such thing today and yell at Obama for not just fixing the damn problem in one fell swoop like promised, and like they did in the old days (like, for instance, the emancipation proclamation freeing the slaves and all) they are comparing a made up version of history to a real present day.

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