Lincoln Declared an End to Slavery on New Year's Day 1863

By Shafer, Ronald G. | The Charleston Gazette (Charleston, WV), January 2, 2019 | Go to article overview

Lincoln Declared an End to Slavery on New Year's Day 1863


Shafer, Ronald G., The Charleston Gazette (Charleston, WV)


On New Year's morning of 1863, President Abraham Lincoln hosted a three-hour reception in the White House. That afternoon, Lincoln slipped into his office and - without fanfare - signed a document that changed America forever.

It was the Emancipation Proclamation, decreeing "that all persons held as slaves" within the rebellious Southern states "are, and henceforward shall be, free."

However, the proclamation did not immediately free any of the nation's nearly 4 million slaves. The biggest impact was that for the first time, ending slavery became a goal of the Union in the bloody civil war with the Confederacy.

The news sent shock waves throughout the divided country. Southern newspapers responded with outrage. Lincoln's action was "the most startling political crime, the most stupid political blunder yet known in American history, the Richmond Enquirer thundered. "The Southern people have now only to choose between victory and death.

In the North, the Cleveland Morning Leader exulted "The day of Jubilee has arrived, and the all important words Be Free' have been spoken. The New York Times declared "President Lincoln's proclamation marks an era in history, not only of this war, but of the world. But some Northern whites opposed fighting for the freedom of black slaves. The Cincinnati Enquirer said Lincoln's proclamation represented the "complete overthrow of the Constitution he swore to protect and defend.

Free African-Americans in the North celebrated the news. "We are all liberated by this proclamation, said the noted orator and former slave Frederick Douglass. "Everybody is liberated. The white man is liberated, the black man is liberated, the brave men now fighting the battles of their country against rebels and traitors are now liberated. But Douglass cautioned that the proclamation was only a first step; slaves who celebrated the proclamation risked being beaten or hung.

The proclamation was not a surprise. Lincoln had presented his draft of a preliminary order at a Cabinet meeting on July 22, 1862. Secretary of State William Seward suggested the president wait until after the North had scored a fresh win over Southern troops before releasing the document. On Sept. 22, a few days after Union forces claimed victory in the Battle of Antietam, Lincoln issued the preliminary proclamation. It stated that if Southern states did not surrender by Jan. 1, 1863, the president would issue a final order to make their slaves "forever free.

The fighting continued. Some doubted Lincoln would back up his threat. But on the afternoon of Jan. 1, he paused only to steady his hand before signing the final Emancipation Proclamation. "I never, in my life, felt more certain that I was doing right than I do in signing this paper, Lincoln said. "If my name goes into history, it will be for this act, and my whole soul is in it.

Many abolitionists criticized Lincoln's action as too limited. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Lincoln Declared an End to Slavery on New Year's Day 1863
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.