Lincoln's Proclamation: Emancipation Reconsidered


Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation is popularly regarded as a heroic act by a great American president. Widely remembered as the document that ended slavery, the proclamation in fact freed slaves only in the rebellious South (and not in the Border States, where slavery remained legal) and, effectively, only in the parts of the South occupied by the Union. Questions persist regarding Lincoln's moral conviction and the extent to which the proclamation truly represented a radical stance on the issue of freedom.

The eight essays in this volume enrich our understanding of the proclamation by considering not only aspects of the president's decision making, but also events beyond Washington. The proclamation provides a launching point for new insights on the consequences and legacies of freedom, the engagement of black Americans in their liberation, and the issues of citizenship and rights that were not decided by Lincoln's document. Together the essays portray emancipation as a product of many hands, best understood when considering all the various actors, the place, and the time.


William Blair, The Pennsylvania State University
Richard Carwardine, University of Oxford
Paul Finkelman, Albany Law School
Louis Gerteis, University of Missouri-St. Louis
Steven Hahn, University of Pennsylvania
Stephanie McCurry, University of Pennsylvania
Mark E. Neely Jr., The Pennsylvania State University,
Michael Vorenberg, Brown University
Karen Fisher Younger, The Pennsylvania State University


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