Emancipation Proclamation

January 1, 1863

President Lincoln issued his official Emancipation Proclamation, declaring “all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State . . . in rebellion against the United States . . . thenceforward and forever free.” Slaves in loyal areas (including the Border States) were not freed by the proclamation, as Lincoln believed that he only had the power to issue the proclamation “as a fit and necessary war measure for suppressing said rebellion” (though he would soon press for the emancipation of all slaves with the Thirteenth Amendment). Lincoln also used the proclamation to announce his intention to recruit African Americans into the military, declaring that “such persons of suitable condition, will be received into the armed service of the United States to garrison forts, positions, stations, and other places, and to man vessels of all sorts in said service.”

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