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Transcript of Emancipation Proclamation
It was an attempt to free the slaves in the Southern states because the North found slavery unconstitutional
The Emancipation Proclamation was announced for several reasons, which can be simplified into 2 parts:
1) Raise morale for Union troops and give them another reason to fight besides re-uniting the nation, as the series of defeats due to Union commanding officers' incompetence and Confederate General Robert E. Lee tactical brilliance.
2) Encourage international support to tip in the Union's favor as they added the reason of ridding slavery as a goal of the war. (Almost all countries of the "civilized " world had rid themselves of slavery) In July, 1862 Lincoln proposed to his cabinet that all slaves in the rebellious states be set free. Secretary of State William Seward convinced him to wait until a better time. The Union had been taking a beating at the hands of the Confederacy, and Seward reasoned that changing the thrust of the Union's goals from preservation of the Union to freeing slaves would have little impact. Abraham Lincoln, the tall president with the stovepipe hat, the full beard and the grief-stricken eyes, slipped away from the White House’s annual New Year’s celebration with a few members of his administration. Lincoln steadied his nerves, then his hands.
After a few minutes, he took a pen, signed the
emancipation proclamation. what did the emancipation of proclamation change ? EMANCIPATION OF PROCLAMATION 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:
WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State. The Emancipation Proclamation had limitations, to be sure. It only freed slaves in the rebellious states, and even exempted those parts of the Confederacy which were already under Union control. Perhaps most importantly, unless the Union won the war,the proclamation would be worthless. It had immediate impact politically, however. The war was now about freeing slaves, transforming the entire focus. Countries such as England and France, considering aiding the Confederacy, now took a second look. Rejoining the Union was one thing, but now the war had a moral tone. Without the assistance of the European powers, the Confederacy was doomed to carrying on the battle alone.
The Emancipation Proclamation also declared that " . . . persons of suitable condition, will be received into the armed service of the United States . . . " Nearly 200,000 black soldiers and sailors would fight for the Union before the war was over, with several being awarded the Medal of Honor.
For many years the Emancipation Proclamation was kept bound into a large volume with other proclamations and maintained by the Department of State. At some point the number 95, signifying the number of the proclamation, was written on the top right corner in red ink.
The original of the Emancipation Proclamation, consisting of five pages tied together with red and blue ribbons, is now housed in the National Archives, having been transferred from the Department of State in 1936. The pages are fragile, the ink fading. The condition is so delicate that it is only placed on public display on special occasions. Despite its condition, the Emancipation Proclamation occupies a lofty position among the greatest documents in history. The first reading of the Emancipation Proclamation before the cabinet.
Painted by F.B. Carpenter ; engraved by A.H. Ritchie, c1866.
September 22, 1862