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Provide a comprehensive response to the question(s) below. Be sure to
draft your response in your own words (do not quote verbatim from the
textbook or internet). Should be 200 – 300 words long.
Read Chapters 13-14 and the Emancipation Proclamation. Once all reading is complete, respond to the following
In early 1863, President Lincoln issued
the Emancipation Proclamation.
- Why did Lincoln decide to issue the Proclamation at
this particular time?
- What factors determined this decision?
- What did the President hope to gain?
- What were the limitations of the Proclamation, and what
was its larger historical significance?
The Emancipation Proclamation
The Emancipation Proclamation (page 1)
Record Group 11
General Records of the United States
President Abraham Lincoln issued the
Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, as the nation approached its third year
of bloody civil war. The proclamation declared “that all persons held as
slaves” within the rebellious states “are, and henceforward shall be
Despite this expansive wording, the
Emancipation Proclamation was limited in many ways. It applied only to states
that had seceded from the Union, leaving slavery untouched in the loyal border
states. It also expressly exempted parts of the Confederacy that had already
come under Northern control. Most important, the freedom it promised depended
upon Union military victory.
Although the Emancipation
Proclamation did not end slavery in the nation, it captured the hearts and
imagination of millions of Americans and fundamentally transformed the
character of the war. After January 1, 1863, every advance of federal troops
expanded the domain of freedom. Moreover, the Proclamation announced the
acceptance of black men into the Union Army and Navy, enabling the liberated to
become liberators. By the end of the war, almost 200,000 black soldiers and
sailors had fought for the Union and freedom.
From the first days of the Civil
War, slaves had acted to secure their own liberty. The Emancipation
Proclamation confirmed their insistence that the war for the Union must become
a war for freedom. It added moral force to the Union cause and strengthened the
Union both militarily and politically. As a milestone along the road to
slavery’s final destruction, the Emancipation Proclamation has assumed a place
among the great documents of human freedom.
The original of the Emancipation
Proclamation of January 1, 1863, is in the National Archives in Washington, DC.
With the text covering five pages the document was originally tied with narrow
red and blue ribbons, which were attached to the signature page by a wafered
impression of the seal of the United States. Most of the ribbon remains; parts
of the seal are still decipherable, but other parts have worn off.
The document was bound with other
proclamations in a large volume preserved for many years by the Department of
State. When it was prepared for binding, it was reinforced with strips along
the center folds and then mounted on a still larger sheet of heavy paper.
Written in red ink on the upper right-hand corner of this large sheet is the
number of the Proclamation, 95, given to it by the Department of State long
after it was signed. With other records, the volume containing the Emancipation
Proclamation was transferred in 1936 from the Department of State to the
National Archives of the United States.