Top 10 Facts About the Emancipation Proclamation

Lincoln signing the Emancipation Proclamation.
Lincoln signing the Emancipation Proclamation.

The Emancipation Proclamation was a proclamation made by President Abraham Lincoln first in 1862 and then added on to in 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation has two different parts, both of which will be explained in the notes that follow. There have been many other movements, rights granted and even an amendment that came about as a result of the changes that were set in motion by the Emancipation Proclamation.

1. Freedom of all slaves

The Emancipation Proclamation consists of two executive orders issued by President Abraham Lincoln during the American Civil War. The first one was issued September 22, 1862, and it declared the freedom of all slaves in any state of the then Confederate States of America.

2. The naming of specific states

Not all slaves were freed until the second of the two executive orders was issued on January 1, 1863. This order named the specific states where the Emancipation Proclamation applied. There were many attacks made at this time as the Emancipation Proclamation freed only the slaves over which the Union had no power.

3. Use of the U.S. Constitution

The status of America as an independent union was still very young at this time. Lincoln had to exercise the rights that he had as “Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy” to carry out an executive order under Article II, section 2 of the United States Constitution.

4. No freedom for many a wave of escapee slaves

The states originally included in the Emancipation Proclamation were mainly northern states. Border states and southern states were still allowed to have slaves. After hearing about the freedoms available in the northern states, slaves quickly escaped to Union lines.

5. Debate as to whether or not the Proclamation was just a war effort

After the war there was much concern over the fact that many believed that the freeing of the slaves was just a strategy of war and that slavery would again resume when the fighting was over. To ensure their freedom, several former slave states passed legislation prohibiting slavery.
6. Thirteenth Amendment
It would take some time to end slavery in the United States all together. Slavery continued to exist legally in some areas until a sufficient number of states ratified the Thirteenth Amendment which once and for all gave the official legal end to slavery on December 18, 1865.

7. The Battle of Antietam

The Battle of Antietam is an important part of the Emancipation Proclamation as it gave Abraham Lincoln the opportunity, as this was a decisive battle, to issue a preliminary proclamation on September 22, 1862. The final proclamation was issued in January 1863.

8. Military power

The Emancipation Proclamation also allowed for the enrollment of freed slaves into the United States military. During the war nearly 200,000 blacks joined the Union Army. The great majority of those black men were former slaves. Naturally their involvement was a significant contributor to winning the war.

9. Surprising acceptance

Slaves were overjoyed at hearing that they would be freed and surprisingly owners of these slaves in general were not violent about the order to free the slaves.

10. Political impact

Lincoln was not liked by very many Democrats in America at the time that the Proclamation was issued. Those opposed to the Emancipation saw Lincoln’s executive order as a cowardly and hypocritical war move, of which the northern states would be able to receive great benefit. The southern states would not have the benefit of the additional manpower of the former slaves in their states until the Confederate war had mostly been lost. Internationally, the move to end slavery was received very well, especially by those countries who had already proclaimed themselves to be slave free.

Learn more with these Emancipation Proclamation websites.

Cite This Page

"Top 10 Facts About the Emancipation Proclamation." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 26 Feb. 2009. Web. 29 Jul. 2015. < >.

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  • Jane Doe

    The Emancipation Proclomation released slaves in the confederate states which were the southern states, not the Northen States. Freedom was not available in the Northern States. So I am wondering why #4 says:

    4. No freedom for many a wave of escapee slaves

    The states originally included in the Emancipation Proclamation were mainly NORTHERN STATES. Border states and SOUTHERN STATES were still allowed to have slaves. After hearing about the freedoms available in the NORTHERN STATES, slaves quickly escaped to Union lines.

    Thank you!

    • me

      it clearly states that the original proclimation didnt effect the states in which the union had no power ie the northern and border states… there was kind of a war going on at the time

  • Patricia Teel

    #4 is very wrong. It is the opposite in fact.

    • hunter

      actually it is very correct, it is talking about the origanal EP not the later refined one

  • Vanesa

    Republicans voted in favor of the Emancipation Proclamation, why not Democrats? Was it because of economic gains?

    • Dritz Do’urden

      The reason that the Republicans voted in favor of Emancipation Proclamation was probably due to the fact that it was the logical choice and Demacrats voted against was due to the fact that Republicans and Demicrats were most of the time oppisites when it came to voting ie if republicans voted for something than Demacrats most of the time voted against that same subject… Key word MOST of the time

  • Anon E Mouse

    The Emancipation Proclamation ONLY, I repeat, ONLY freed slaves in the “Rebellious Confederate States”. The Border States would still have slavery, as did Union occupied areas of the South such as Beaufort and Port Royal. The Proclamation is basically saying that when the Union army marches through the South, they will free all the slaves in those areas.

  • James

    The Republicans voted for the Emancipation and not the Democrats because the Republican party then was much much different than it is now. The Republican party formed out of the former ‘Whig’ party which was very ‘big government’ minded, which is what the Democrat party platform stands on today. Some argue that Lincoln’s motivation to declare war upon the Southern states was not an ethical one, of civil rights, but to secure his Union. It is very clear in history that Southern states were capable of being self-sustaining. In fact, Europe did a lot of business with the South as it’s lands were full of cash crops and very lucrative. Research tariffs the Union was imposing on Southern states and how Lincoln sent in his military to collect taxes. Of course he was afraid for his Union, Constitutionally, states had every right to secede.

    • Dritz Do’urden

      I disagree 100% due to the fact that if we didn’t declare war on the south then we might not have been able to maintain our freedom as a UNITED Nation. Thats just my oppinion

  • me

    Thankyou all

  • Jac`

    Go the Civil War Center in Richmond, Va. It cost $8, but it is extremely informative and filled with things you might not know.

  • mike

    This man let the slaves go ummmmmmmmmm yeah right

  • Dan

    I believe if President Lincoln had known that the end results of his proclamations would free all the slaves, not just the one in the areas they were having trouble defeating.He would have not proposed them.

  • coolguy


  • coolguy

    Abaraham Lincoln is cool like me