On January 1, 1863, after three years of a brutal Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation freeing Confederate slaves. Before the Proclamation, the North was in the war to reunite the states. But after the Proclamation, the war became a fight against slavery. This historic document helped strengthen the North's war effort, and was a critical component of their victory.
This section of Africans in America (a PBS special on the history of slavery) covers the Civil War years and Abraham Lincoln's presidency. It provides a succinct summary of the events leading up to the Emancipation Proclamation and the effect it had on the war effort. "The proclamation allowed black soldiers to fight for the Union -- soldiers that were desperately needed. It also tied the issue of slavery directly to the war." For the document text (and an image of it), follow the Emancipation Proclamation link at the bottom of the page.
"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." The National Archives& Records Administration exhibits the five-page document, and explains its significance. The site also includes links to off-site resources, articles and audio interviews that will be helpful to those writing school research papers.
"The proclamation paved the way for the passage of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution (December 1865), which ended slavery in the United States. Today, the original Emancipation Proclamation resides at the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, D.C." Ben's Guide to the U.S. Government is an educational service of the U.S. Government Publishing Office. This Emancipation Proclamation section is part of the grades 9-12 site. Slightly simpler versions also exist for grades 3-5 and grades 6-8. To find them, click on the appropriate grade-level kite (in the header graphic) and choose Historical Documents.
The Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, ratified by the required number of states on December 18, 1865, permanently abolished slavery in all states. It was created because President Lincoln and his advisors were concerned that the Proclamation Emancipation would be viewed as a temporary war measure. Visit this Harper Weekly site to explore the Emancipation Proclamation and the Thirteenth Amendment with a timeline, commentary, biographies, cartoons and illustrations.
"Almost from the beginning of his administration, Lincoln was pressured by abolitionists and radical Republicans to issue an Emancipation Proclamation. In principle, Lincoln approved, but he postponed action against slavery until he believed he had wider support from the American Public." The Abraham Lincoln Papers project at the Library of Congress consists of 20,000 documents, while this online exhibit has nearly 10,000. Best click here is the timeline, which covers all of Lincoln's presidency.