On this day in history, September 22, 1862, Abraham Lincoln proclaims slaves will soon be ‘forever free’

On this day in history, on September 22, 1862, Abraham Lincoln made the boldest and far-reaching exercise of executive power in American history by announcing that enslaved people would soon be “free forever.” I was responsible for one thing.

Lincoln’s announcement, called the “preliminary” Emancipation Proclamation by historians, stated that slavery would be abolished in the United States on January 1, 1863, the date his proclamation went into effect.

He made this announcement to the nation as the Civil War entered its second year. It had grown to be far more deadly than almost anyone expected.

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President Lincoln announced that “all persons held as slaves within any state or designated territory thereof shall thereafter be in rebellion against the United States, but shall thereafter be forever free.”

In making this declaration, the “Great Liberator” asserted controversial war powers.

Postcard praising President Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) for issuing the Emancipation Proclamation, 1863. (Keene Collection/Getty Images)

Lincoln was given the political capital to make this shocking announcement following the Union victory at the Battle of Antietam in Maryland just five days earlier.

The bloodshed was shocking, with “23,000 people killed, injured or missing, making it the bloodiest day in U.S. history,” according to a National Park Service report. [Confederate General Robert E.] Mr. Lee’s first northern invasion ended with a retreat into Virginia on the night of September 18th. ”

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For Lincoln, the revitalization of the battlefield came after Federal forces had been outmaneuvered, outmaneuvered, and defeated in nearly every battle in the first year of the Civil War.

Killed at Antietam.

Burial of the Dead on the Antietam Battlefield, September 1862. Artist Alexander Gardner. Although the Union victory was costly, it gave Abraham Lincoln the political capital to proclaim the coming abolition of slavery. (Photo courtesy of Heritage Art/Heritage Images, Getty Images)

“Antietam… showed that the Union Army could stand up to the Confederacy on the Eastern Front,” the American Battlefield Trust wrote.

“It also gave President Abraham Lincoln the confidence to issue a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation at a moment of strength rather than in a desperate situation.”

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Lincoln sought to induce Congress to take steps to free the people who had been living in bondage.

abraham lincoln reads the proclamation

An undated illustration depicting Abraham Lincoln reading the draft Emancipation Proclamation to his cabinet in 1862. (Getty Images)

“Finally, in the summer of 1862, he shifted the basis of his emancipation strategy to the constitutional presumption of ‘war powers’ as commander-in-chief, and submitted a draft Emancipation Proclamation to his cabinet in July,” the National Constitution Center writes. .

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“Although there was no consensus on the existence of such ‘war powers,’ Lincoln issued a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862, followed by a final Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. Announced.”

In his announcement, Lincoln ordered: “I hereby command all persons engaged in the service of the Army and Navy of the United States to abide by the above-mentioned laws and provisions within the scope of their respective services; I order and command you to comply and enforce.” [the pending emancipation of the slaves]. ”


“Emancipation redefined the Civil War, changing it from a struggle to preserve the Union to one focused on abolishing slavery, and a decisive moment in how the nation would be reshaped after its historic conflict.” It will set the tone,” writes.

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