The Emancipation Proclamation

By John Hope Franklin | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FOUR
Day of Days

T HURSDAY, January 1, 1863,was a bright, crisp day in the nation's capital. The previous day had been a strenuous one for the President, but New Year's Daywas to be even more strenuous. So he rose early. There was much to do, not the least of which was to put the finishing touches on the Proclamation. Before he could begin, the troubled General Ambrose E. Burnside, who hadled the ill-fated Fredericksburg campaign, called at theWhite House. He was fully aware of the fact that he had lost the confidence of his men, and he told the President so. He felt, therefore, that he should retire to private life. The President calmed the general, who then returned to his men. Lincoln then proceeded to work on theProclamation. When he had finished the draft he sent it over to the Department of State for the superscription and closing.

At 10:45 the document was brought to the White House by Secretary of State Seward. ThePresident signed it, but he noticed an error in the superscription. It read, "Intestimony whereof I have hereunto set my name and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed."The President had never used that form in proclamations, always preferring to say "In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand...." He asked Seward to make thecorrection; and

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The Emancipation Proclamation
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • Prologue - Time of Decision ix
  • Chapter One - The Precedents and the Pressures 1
  • Chapter Two - The Decision and the Writing 31
  • Chapter Three - The Hundred Days 58
  • Chapter Four - Day of Days 94
  • Charter Five - Victory More Certain 136
  • Epilogue - End of Unrequited Toil 155
  • Sources 157
  • Notes 163
  • Index 175
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