The Emancipation Proclamation was an order issued to all segments of the Executive branch (including the Army and Navy) of the United States by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, during the American Civil War. It was based on the president's constitutional authority as commander in chief of the armed forces; it was not a law passed by Congress. It proclaimed all those enslaved in Confederate territory to be forever free, and ordered the Army (and all segments of the Executive branch) to treat as free all those enslaved in ten states that were still in rebellion, thus applying to 3.1 million of the 4 million slaves in the U.S. The Proclamation could not be enforced in areas still under rebellion, but as the army took control of Confederate regions, the slaves in those regions were emancipated rather than returned to their masters. From 20,000 to 50,000 former slaves in regions where rebellion had already been subdued were immediately emancipated, and over 3 million more were emancipated as the Union army advanced. The Proclamation did not apply to the five slave states that were not in rebellion, nor to most regions already controlled by the Union army; emancipation there would come after separate state actions and/or the December 1865 ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment, which made slavery illegal everywhere in the U.S. The Proclamation did not compensate the owners, did not itself outlaw slavery, and did not make the ex-slaves (called freedmen) citizens. It made the eradication of slavery an explicit war goal, in addition to the goal of reuniting the Union.
On September 22, 1862, Lincoln had issued a preliminary proclamation that he would order the emancipation of all slaves in any state of the Confederate States of America that did not return to Union control by January 1, 1863. None returned, and the order, signed and issued January 1, 1863, took effect except in locations where the Union had already mostly regained control. The Proclamation outraged white Southerners who envisioned a race war, angered some Northern Democrats, energized anti-slavery forces, and weakened forces in Europe that wanted to intervene to help the Confederacy. It also lifted the spirits of African Americans both in the Southern and Northern States, and led to many slaves escaping their masters and running behind Union lines in order to have their emancipation enforced.[need quotation to verify]
Lincoln issued the Proclamation under his authority as "Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy" under Article II, section 2 of the United States Constitution. As such, he claimed to have the martial power to free persons held as slaves in those states which were in rebellion. He did not have Commander-in-Chief authority over the four slave-holding states that were not in rebellion: Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland and Delaware, and so those states were not named in the Proclamation. The fifth border jurisdiction, West Virginia, where slavery remained legal, had not yet achieved statehood. The Emancipation Proclamation was never challenged in court.
To ensure the abolition of slavery in all of the U.S., Lincoln pushed for passage of the Thirteenth Amendment. Congress passed it by the necessary two-thirds vote in February 1865 and it was ratified by the states by December 1865.
The Proclamation applied in only ten states that were still in rebellion in 1863, and thus did not cover the nearly 500,000 slaves in the slave-holding border states (Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland or Delaware) which were Union states — those slaves were freed by separate state and federal actions. The state of Tennessee had already mostly returned to Union control, so it was not named and was exempted. Virginia was named, but exemptions were specified for the 48 counties then in the process of forming the new state of West Virginia, and seven additional counties and two cities in the Union-controlled Tidewater region. Also specifically exempted were New Orleans and 13 named parishes of Louisiana, all of which were also already mostly under Federal control at the time of the Proclamation. These exemptions left unemancipated an additional 300,000 slaves.
The Emancipation Proclamation has been ridiculed, notably in an influential passage by Richard Hofstadter for "freeing" only the slaves over which the Union had no power. These slaves were freed due to Lincoln's "war powers". This act cleared up the issue of contraband slaves. It automatically clarified the status of over 100,000 slaves. In fact 20,000 to 50,000 were freed the day it went into effect in parts of nine of the ten states to which it applied (Texas being the exception). In every Confederate state (except Tennessee and Texas), the Proclamation went into immediate effect in Union-occupied areas and at least 20,000 slaves were freed at once on January 1, 1863.
Additionally, the Proclamation provided the legal framework for the emancipation of nearly all four million slaves as the Union armies advanced, and committed the Union to ending slavery, which was a controversial decision even in the North. Hearing of the Proclamation, more slaves quickly escaped to Union lines as the Army units moved South. As the Union armies advanced through the Confederacy, thousands of slaves were freed each day until nearly all (approximately 4 million, according to the 1860 Census) were freed by July 1865.
While the Proclamation had freed most slaves as a war measure, it had not made slavery illegal. Of the states that were exempted from the Proclamation, Maryland, Missouri, Tennessee, and West Virginia prohibited slavery before the war ended. In 1863, President Lincoln proposed a moderate plan for the Reconstruction of the captured Confederate State of Louisiana. Only 10% of the state's electorate had to take the loyalty oath. The state was also required to abolish slavery in its new constitution. Identical Reconstruction plans would be adopted in Arkansas and Tennessee. By December 1864, the Lincoln plan abolishing slavery had been enacted in Louisiana. However, in Delaware and Kentucky, slavery continued to be legal until December 18, 1865, when the Thirteenth Amendment went into effect.
The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 required individuals to return runaway slaves to their owners. During the war, Union generals such as Benjamin Butler declared that slaves in occupied areas were contraband of war and accordingly refused to return them. This decision was controversial because it implied recognition of the Confederacy as a separate nation under international law, a notion that Lincoln steadfastly denied. As a result, he did not promote the contraband designation. Some generals also declared the slaves under their jurisdiction to be free and were replaced when they refused to rescind such declarations.
In December 1861, Lincoln sent his annual message to Congress (the State of the Union Address, but then typically given in writing and not referred to as such). In it he praised the free labor system, as respecting human rights over property rights; he endorsed legislation to address the status of contraband slaves and slaves in loyal states, possibly through buying their freedom with federal taxes, and also the funding of strictly voluntary colonization efforts. In January 1862, Thaddeus Stevens, the Republican leader in the House, called for total war against the rebellion to include emancipation of slaves, arguing that emancipation, by forcing the loss of enslaved labor, would ruin the rebel economy. On March 13, 1862, Congress approved a "Law Enacting an Additional Article of War" which stated that from that point onward it was forbidden for Union Army officers to return fugitive slaves to their owners. On April 10, 1862, Congress declared that the federal government would compensate slave owners who freed their slaves. Slaves in the District of Columbia were freed on April 16, 1862, and their owners were compensated.
On June 19, 1862, Congress prohibited slavery in United States territories, and President Lincoln quickly signed the legislation. By this act, they opposed the 1857 opinion of the Supreme Court of the United States in the Dred Scott Case that Congress was powerless to regulate slavery in U.S. territories. This joint action by Congress and President Lincoln also rejected the notion of popular sovereignty that had been advanced by Stephen A. Douglas as a solution to the slavery controversy, while completing the effort begun by Thomas Jefferson in 1784 to confine slavery within the borders of the states.
In July 1862, Congress passed and Lincoln signed the Second Confiscation Act, containing provisions intended to liberate slaves held by "rebels", but Lincoln took the position that Congress lacked power to free slaves within the borders of the states unless Lincoln as commander in chief deemed it a proper military measure, and that Lincoln would soon do.
Abolitionists had long been urging Lincoln to free all slaves. In the summer of 1862, Republican editor Horace Greeley of the highly influential New York Tribune wrote a famous editorial entitled "The Prayer of Twenty Millions" demanding a more aggressive attack on the Confederacy and faster emancipation of the slaves: "On the face of this wide earth, Mr. President, there is not one... intelligent champion of the Union cause who does not feel... that the rebellion, if crushed tomorrow, would be renewed if slavery were left in full vigor... and that every hour of deference to slavery is an hour of added and deepened peril to the Union." Lincoln responded in his Letter To Horace Greeley from August 22, 1862, in terms of the limits imposed by his duty as president to save the Union:
If there be those who would not save the Union, unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. . . . I have here stated my purpose according to my view of official duty; and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men everywhere could be free.
Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer wrote in this context about Lincoln's letter: "Unknown to Greeley, Lincoln composed this after he had already drafted a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, which he had determined to issue after the next Union military victory. Therefore, this letter, was in truth, an attempt to position the impending announcement in terms of saving the Union, not freeing slaves as a humanitarian gesture. It was one of Lincoln’s most skillful public relations efforts, even if it has cast longstanding doubt on his sincerity as a liberator." Historian Richard Striner argues that "for years" Lincoln's letter has been misread as "Lincoln only wanted to save the Union." However, within the context of Lincoln's entire career and pronouncements on slavery this interpretation is wrong, according to Striner. Rather, Lincoln was softening the strong Northern white supremacist opposition to his imminent emancipation by tying it to the cause of the Union. This opposition would fight for the Union but not to end slavery, however Lincoln gave them the means and motivation to do both, at the same time. The urging to free all slaves, or not free them at all, was presented to Lincoln in public and private.[vague] A mass rally in Chicago on September 7, 1862, demanded an immediate and universal emancipation of slaves. A delegation headed by William W. Patton met the President at the White House on September 13. Lincoln had declared in peacetime that he had no constitutional authority to free the slaves. Even used as a war power, emancipation was a risky political act. Public opinion as a whole was against it. There would be strong opposition among Copperhead Democrats and an uncertain reaction from loyal border states. Delaware and Maryland already had a high percentage of free blacks: 91.2% and 49.7%, respectively, in 1860.
Drafting and issuance of the proclamation 
Lincoln first discussed the proclamation with his cabinet in July 1862. He believed he needed a Union victory on the battlefield so his decision would appear positive and strong. The Battle of Antietam, in which Union troops turned back a Confederate invasion of Maryland, gave him such an opportunity. On September 22, 1862, five days after Antietam, Lincoln called his cabinet into session and issued the Preliminary Proclamation. According to Civil War historian James M. McPherson, Lincoln told Cabinet members that he had made a covenant with God, that if the Union drove the Confederacy out of Maryland, he would issue the Emancipation Proclamation. Lincoln had first shown an early draft of the proclamation to Vice President Hannibal Hamlin, an ardent abolitionist, who was more often kept in the dark on presidential decisions. The final proclamation was issued January 1, 1863. Although implicitly granted authority by Congress, Lincoln used his powers as Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy, "as a necessary war measure" as the basis of the proclamation, rather than the equivalent of a statute enacted by Congress or a constitutional amendment. Some days after issuing the final Proclamation, Lincoln wrote to Major General John McClernand: "After the commencement of hostilities I struggled nearly a year and a half to get along without touching the "institution"; and when finally I conditionally determined to touch it, I gave a hundred days fair notice of my purpose, to all the States and people, within which time they could have turned it wholly aside, by simply again becoming good citizens of the United States. They chose to disregard it, and I made the peremptory proclamation on what appeared to me to be a military necessity. And being made, it must stand."
Initially, the Emancipation Proclamation effectively freed only a small percentage of the slaves, those who were behind Union lines in areas not exempted. Most slaves were still behind Confederate lines or in exempted Union-occupied areas. Secretary of State William H. Seward commented, "We show our sympathy with slavery by emancipating slaves where we cannot reach them and holding them in bondage where we can set them free." Had any slave state ended its secession attempt before January 1, 1863, it could have kept slavery, at least temporarily. The Proclamation only gave Lincoln the legal basis to free the slaves in the areas of the South that were still in rebellion. However, it also took effect as the Union armies advanced into the Confederacy.
The Emancipation Proclamation also allowed for the enrollment of freed slaves into the United States military. During the war nearly 200,000 blacks, most of them ex-slaves, joined the Union Army. Their contributions gave the North additional manpower that was significant in winning the war. The Confederacy did not allow slaves in their army as soldiers until the last month before its defeat.
Though the counties of Virginia that were soon to form West Virginia were specifically exempted from the Proclamation (Jefferson County being the only exception), a condition of the state's admittance to the Union was that its constitution provide for the gradual abolition of slavery. Slaves in the border states of Maryland and Missouri were also emancipated by separate state action before the Civil War ended. In Maryland, a new state constitution abolishing slavery in the state went into effect on November 1, 1864. In early 1865, Tennessee adopted an amendment to its constitution prohibiting slavery. Slaves in Kentucky and Delaware were not emancipated until the Thirteenth Amendment was ratified.
The Proclamation was issued in two parts. The first part, issued on September 22, 1862, was a preliminary announcement outlining the intent of the second part, which officially went into effect 100 days later on January 1, 1863, during the second year of the Civil War. It was Abraham Lincoln's declaration that all slaves would be permanently freed in all areas of the Confederacy that had not already returned to federal control by January 1863. The ten affected states were individually named in the second part (South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina). Not included were the Union slave states of Maryland, Delaware, Missouri and Kentucky. Also not named was the state of Tennessee, in which a Union-controlled military government had already been set up, based in the capital, Nashville. Specific exemptions were stated for areas also under Union control on January 1, 1863, namely 48 counties that would soon become West Virginia, seven other named counties of Virginia including Berkeley and Hampshire counties which were soon added to West Virginia, New Orleans and 13 named parishes nearby.
Union-occupied areas of the Confederate states where the proclamation was put into immediate effect by local commanders included Winchester, Virginia, Corinth, Mississippi, the Sea Islands along the coasts of the Carolinas and Georgia, Key West, Florida, and Port Royal, South Carolina.
Immediate impact 
It is common to encounter a claim that the Emancipation Proclamation did not immediately free a single slave. As a result of the Proclamation, many slaves were freed during the course of the war, beginning with the day it took effect. Eyewitness accounts at places such as Hilton Head, South Carolina, and Port Royal, South Carolina, record celebrations on January 1 as thousands of blacks were informed of their new legal status of freedom. Estimates of the number of slaves freed immediately by the Emancipation Proclamation are uncertain. One contemporary estimate put the 'contraband' population of Union-occupied North Carolina at 10,000, and the Sea Islands of South Carolina also had a substantial population. Those 20,000 slaves were freed immediately by the Emancipation Proclamation." This Union-occupied zone where freedom began at once included parts of eastern North Carolina, the Mississippi Valley, northern Alabama, the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, a large part of Arkansas, and the Sea Islands of Georgia and South Carolina. Although some counties of Union-occupied Virginia were exempted from the Proclamation, the lower Shenandoah Valley, and the area around Alexandria were covered.
As the great day drew nearer, there was more singing in the slave quarters than usual. It was bolder, had more ring, and lasted later into the night. Most of the verses of the plantation songs had some reference to freedom.... Some man who seemed to be a stranger (a United States officer, I presume) made a little speech and then read a rather long paper—the Emancipation Proclamation, I think. After the reading we were told that we were all free, and could go when and where we pleased. My mother, who was standing by my side, leaned over and kissed her children, while tears of joy ran down her cheeks. She explained to us what it all meant, that this was the day for which she had been so long praying, but fearing that she would never live to see.
The Emancipation took place without violence by masters or ex-slaves. The proclamation represented a shift in the war objectives of the North—reuniting the nation was no longer the only goal. It represented a major step toward the ultimate abolition of slavery in the United States and a "new birth of freedom".
Runaway slaves who had escaped to Union lines had previously been held by the Union Army as "contraband of war" under the Confiscation Acts; when the proclamation took effect, they were told at midnight that they were free to leave. The Sea Islands off the coast of Georgia had been occupied by the Union Navy earlier in the war. The whites had fled to the mainland while the blacks stayed. An early program of Reconstruction was set up for the former slaves, including schools and training. Naval officers read the proclamation and told them they were free.
In the military, reaction to the proclamation varied widely, with some units nearly ready to mutiny in protest. Some desertions were attributed to it. Other units were inspired by the adoption of a cause that ennobled their efforts, such that at least one unit took up the motto "For Union and Liberty".
Slaves had been part of the "engine of war" for the Confederacy. They produced and prepared food; sewed uniforms; repaired railways; worked on farms and in factories, shipping yards, and mines; built fortifications; and served as hospital workers and common laborers. News of the Proclamation spread rapidly by word of mouth, arousing hopes of freedom, creating general confusion, and encouraging thousands to escape to Union lines.
Robert E. Lee saw the Emancipation Proclamation as a way for the Union to bolster the number of soldiers it could place on the field, making it imperative for the Confederacy to increase their own numbers.
Writing on the matter after the sack of Fredericksburg, Lee wrote "In view of the vast increase of the forces of the enemy, of the savage and brutal policy he has proclaimed, which leaves us no alternative but success or degradation worse than death, if we would save the honor of our families from pollution, our social system from destruction, let every effort be made, every means be employed, to fill and maintain the ranks of our armies, until God, in his mercy, shall bless us with the establishment of our independence." Lee's request for a drastic increase of troops would go unfulfilled.
Political impact 
The Proclamation was immediately denounced by Copperhead Democrats who opposed the war and advocated restoring the union by allowing slavery. Horatio Seymour, while running for the governorship of New York, cast the Emancipation Proclamation as a call for slaves to commit extreme acts of violence on all white southerners, saying it was "a proposal for the butchery of women and children, for scenes of lust and rapine, and of arson and murder, which would invoke the interference of civilized Europe." The Copperheads also saw the Proclamation as an unconstitutional abuse of Presidential power. Editor Henry A. Reeves wrote in Greenport's Republican Watchman that "In the name of freedom of Negroes, [the proclamation] imperils the liberty of white men; to test a utopian theory of equality of races which Nature, History and Experience alike condemn as monstrous, it overturns the Constitution and Civil Laws and sets up Military Usurpation in their Stead."
Racism remained pervasive on both sides of the conflict and many in the North supported the war only as an effort to force the south back into the Union. The promises of many Republican politicians that the war was to restore the Union and not about black rights or ending slavery, were now declared lies by their opponents citing the Proclamation. Copperhead David Allen spoke to a rally in Columbiana, Ohio, stating "I have told you that this war is carried on for the Negro. There is the proclamation of the President of the United States. Now fellow Democrats I ask you if you are going to be forced into a war against your Brithren of the Southern States for the Negro. I answer No!" The Copperheads saw the Proclamation as irrefutable proof of their position and the beginning of a political rise for their members; in Connecticut H.B. Whiting wrote that the truth was now plain even to "those stupid thick-headed persons who persisted in thinking that the President was a conservative man and that the war was for the restoration of the Union under the Constitution."
War Democrats who rejected the Copperhead position within their party, found themselves in a quandary. While throughout the war they had continued to espouse the racist positions of their party and their disdain of the concerns of slaves, they did see the Proclamation as a viable military tool against the South, and worried that opposing it might demoralize troops in the Union army. The question would continue to trouble them and eventually lead to a split within their party as the war progressed.
Lincoln further alienated many in the Union two days after issuing the preliminary copy of the Emancipation Proclamation by suspending habeas corpus. His opponents linked these two actions in their claims that he was becoming a despot. In light of this and a lack of military success for the Union armies, many War Democrat voters who had previously supported Lincoln turned against him and joined the Copperheads in the off-year elections held in October and November.
In the 1862 elections, the Democrats gained 28 seats in the House as well as the governorship of New York. Lincoln’s friend Orville Hickman Browning told the President that the Proclamation and the suspension of habeas corpus had been "disastrous" for his party by handing the Democrats so many weapons. Lincoln made no response. Copperhead William Javis of Connecticut pronounced the election the "beginning of the end of the utter downfall of Abolitionism."
Historians James M. McPherson and Allan Nevins state that though the results look very troubling, they could be seen favorably by Lincoln; his opponents did well only in their historic strongholds and "at the national level their gains in the House were the smallest of any minority party’s in an off-year election in nearly a generation. Michigan, California, and Iowa all went Republican...Moreover, the Republicans picked up five seats in the Senate." McPherson states "If the election was in any sense a referendum on emancipation and on Lincoln’s conduct of the war, a majority of Northern voters endorsed these policies."
The initial Confederate response was one of expected outrage. The Proclamation was seen as vindication for the rebellion, and proof that Lincoln would have abolished slavery even if the states had remained in the Union.
International impact 
As Lincoln had hoped, the Proclamation turned foreign popular opinion in favor of the Union by adding the ending of slavery as a goal of the war. That shift ended the Confederacy's hopes of gaining official recognition, particularly from the United Kingdom, which had abolished slavery. Prior to Lincoln's decree, Britain's actions had favored the Confederacy, especially in its provision of British-built warships such as the CSS Alabama and CSS Florida. Furthermore, the North's determination to win at all costs was creating problems diplomatically; the Trent Affair of late 1861 had caused severe tensions between the United States and Great Britain. For the Confederacy to receive official recognition by foreign powers would have been a further blow to the Union cause.
With the war now cast in terms of freedom against slavery, British or French support for the Confederacy would look like support for slavery, which both of these nations had abolished. As Henry Adams noted, "The Emancipation Proclamation has done more for us than all our former victories and all our diplomacy." In Italy, Giuseppe Garibaldi hailed Lincoln as "the heir of the aspirations of John Brown". On August 6, 1863, Garibaldi wrote to Lincoln: Posterity will call you the great emancipator, a more enviable title than any crown could be, and greater than any merely mundane treasure.
Alan Van Dyke, a representative for workers from Manchester, England, wrote to Lincoln saying, "We joyfully honor you for many decisive steps toward practically exemplifying your belief in the words of your great founders: 'All men are created free and equal.'" The Emancipation Proclamation served to ease tensions with Europe over the North's conduct of the war, and combined with the recent failed Southern offensive at Antietam to cut off any practical chance for the Confederacy to receive international support in the war.
Gettysburg Address 
Lincoln's Gettysburg Address in November 1863 made indirect reference to the Proclamation and the ending of slavery as a war goal with the phrase "new birth of freedom". The Proclamation solidified Lincoln's support among the rapidly growing abolitionist element of the Republican Party and ensured they would not block his re-nomination in 1864.
Near the end of the war abolitionists were concerned that the Emancipation Proclamation would be construed solely as a war measure, Lincoln's original intent, and would no longer apply once fighting ended. They were also increasingly anxious to secure the freedom of all slaves, not just those freed by the Emancipation Proclamation. Thus pressed, Lincoln staked a large part of his 1864 presidential campaign on a constitutional amendment to abolish slavery uniformly throughout the United States. Lincoln's campaign was bolstered by separate votes in both Maryland and Missouri to abolish slavery in those states. Maryland's new constitution abolishing slavery took effect in November 1864. Slavery in Missouri was ended by executive proclamation of its governor, Thomas C. Fletcher, on January 11, 1865.
Winning re-election, Lincoln pressed the lame duck 38th Congress to pass the proposed amendment immediately rather than wait for the incoming 39th Congress to convene. In January 1865, Congress sent to the state legislatures for ratification what became the Thirteenth Amendment, banning slavery in all U.S. states and territories. The amendment was ratified by the legislatures of enough states by December 6, 1865, and proclaimed 12 days later. There were about 40,000 slaves in Kentucky and 1,000 in Delaware who were liberated then.
President Lyndon B. Johnson 
As Vice President while speaking from Gettysburg on May 30, 1963 (Memorial Day), at the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation, Johnson connected it directly with the ongoing Civil Rights struggles of the time saying "One hundred years ago, the slave was freed. One hundred years later, the Negro remains in bondage to the color of his skin. ...In this hour, it is not our respective races which are at stake--it is our nation. Let those who care for their country come forward, North and South, white and Negro, to lead the way through this moment of challenge and decision....Until justice is blind to color, until education is unaware of race, until opportunity is unconcerned with color of men's skins, emancipation will be a proclamation but not a fact. To the extent that the proclamation of emancipation is not fulfilled in fact, to that extent we shall have fallen short of assuring freedom to the free."
As President, Johnson again invoked the proclamation in a speech presenting the Voting Rights Act at a joint session of Congress on Monday, March 15, 1965. This was one week after violence had been inflicted on peaceful civil rights marchers in Selma, Alabama. Johnson said "...it's not just Negroes, but really it's all of us, who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice. And we shall overcome. As a man whose roots go deeply into Southern soil, I know how agonizing racial feelings are. I know how difficult it is to reshape the attitudes and the structure of our society. But a century has passed--more than 100 years--since the Negro was freed. And he is not fully free tonight. It was more than 100 years ago that Abraham Lincoln--a great President of another party--signed the Emancipation Proclamation. But emancipation is a proclamation and not a fact. A century has passed--more than 100 years--since equality was promised, and yet the Negro is not equal. A century has passed since the day of promise, and the promise is unkept. The time of justice has now come, and I tell you that I believe sincerely that no force can hold it back. It is right in the eyes of man and God that it should come, and when it does, I think that day will brighten the lives of every American."
As the years went on and American life continued to be deeply unfair towards blacks, cynicism towards Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation increased. Some 20th-century black intellectuals, including W. E. B. Du Bois, James Baldwin and Julius Lester, described the proclamation as essentially worthless. Perhaps the strongest attack was Lerone Bennett's Forced into Glory: Abraham Lincoln's White Dream (2000), which claimed that Lincoln was a white supremacist who issued the Emancipation Proclamation in lieu of the real racial reforms for which radical abolitionists pushed. In his Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, Allen C. Guelzo noted the professional historians' lack of substantial respect for the document, since it has been the subject of few major scholarly studies. He argued that Lincoln was America's "last Enlightenment politician" and as such was dedicated to removing slavery strictly within the bounds of law.
Other historians have given more credit to Lincoln for what he accomplished within the tensions of his cabinet and a society at war, for his own growth in political and moral stature, and for the promise he held out to the slaves. More might have been accomplished if he had not been assassinated. As Eric Foner wrote:
Lincoln was not an abolitionist or Radical Republican, a point Bennett reiterates innumerable times. He did not favor immediate abolition before the war, and held racist views typical of his time. But he was also a man of deep convictions when it came to slavery, and during the Civil War displayed a remarkable capacity for moral and political growth.
Kal Ashraf wrote:
Perhaps in rejecting the critical dualism–Lincoln as individual emancipator pitted against collective self-emancipators–there is an opportunity to recognise the greater persuasiveness of the combination. In a sense, yes: a racist, flawed Lincoln did something heroic, and not in lieu of collective participation, but next to, and enabled, by it. To venerate a singular ‘Great Emancipator’ may be as reductive as dismissing the significance of Lincoln’s actions. Who he was as a man, no one of us can ever really know. So it is that the version of Lincoln we keep is also the version we make.
See also 
- Abolition of slavery timeline
- Act Prohibiting the Return of Slaves – 1862 statute
- African Americans in the 1960s
- District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act
- History of slavery in Kentucky
- History of slavery in Missouri
- Slavery Abolition Act 1833 – an act passed by the British parliament abolishing slavery in British colonies with compensation to the owners
- Timeline of the African-American Civil Rights Movement
- War Governors' Conference – gave Lincoln the much needed political support to issue the Proclamation
- Eric Foner, The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery (2010) pp 239-42
- Allan Nevins, Ordeal of the Union: vol 6. War Becomes Revolution, 1862–1863 (1960) pp 231-41, 273
- Foner, Eric (1988). Reconstruction America's Unfinished Revolution 1863-1877. New York, NY: Harper & Row. pp. 3–8. ISBN 0-06-015851-4.
- Crowther p. 651
- "The Emancipation Proclamation". Transcription. U.S. National Archives. January 1, 1863.
- The fourth paragraph of the proclamation explains that Lincoln issued it, "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."
- Allen C. Guelzo. ""The Great Event of the Nineteenth Century": Lincoln Issues the Emancipation Proclamation". The Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Archived from the original on 2011-04-03. Retrieved 2011-05-07.
- Freedmen and Southern Society Project (1982). Freedom: a documentary history of emancipation 1861-1867 : selected from the holdings of the National Archives of the United States. The destruction of slavery. CUP Archive. pp. 69. ISBN 978-0-521-22979-1.
- Foner (2010) pp.241-242
- Striner, Richard (2006). Father Abraham: Lincoln's Relentless Struggle to End Slavery. Oxford University Press. p. 192 (citing Hofstadter's 1948 essay, in which he relates, in part, a sardonic remark by William Seward). ISBN 978-0-19-518306-1.
- Heidler, David (2000). Encyclopedia of the American Civil War. ABC-CLIO. p. 652.
- Keith Poulter, "Slaves Immediately Freed by the Emancipation Proclamation", North & South vol. 5 no. 1 (December 2001), p. 48
- William C. Harris, "After the Emancipation Proclamation: Lincoln's Role in the Ending of Slavery", North & South vol. 5 no. 1 (December 2001), map on p. 49
- "Census, Son of the South". sonofthesouth.net. 1860.
- "Archives of Maryland Historical List: Constitutional Convention, 1864". November 1, 1864.
- "Missouri abolishes slavery". January 11, 1865.
- "TENNESSEE STATE CONVENTION: Slavery Declared Forever Abolished". NY Times. January 14, 1865.
- "On this day: 1865-FEB-03".
- Stauffer (2008), Giants, p. 279
- Peterson (1995) Lincoln in American Memory, pp. 38–41
- McCarthy (1901), Lincoln's plan of Reconstruction, p. 76
- "Slavery in Delaware".
- Lowell Hayes Harrison and James C. Klotter (1997). A new history of Kentucky. p. 180. In 1866, Kentucky refused to ratify the 13th Amendment. It did ratify it in 1976.
- Reference. Lincoln met with his cabinet on July 22, 1862 for the first reading of a draft of the Emancipation Proclamation. Sight measurement. Height: 108 inches (274.32 cm) Width: 180 inches (457.2 cm)
- Adam Goodheart (April 1, 2011). "How Slavery Really Ended in America". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-04-03.
- Striner, Richard (2006). Father Abraham: Lincoln's Relentless Struggle to End Slavery. Oxford University Press. pp. 147–148. ISBN 978-0-19-518306-1.
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- The role of humor in presenting the Proclamation to Lincoln's Cabinet.
- 1865 NY Times article Sketch of its History by Lincoln's portrait artist
- "Emancipation, Proclamation of". New International Encyclopedia. 1905.