The Emancipation Proclamation

On January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. Although, not able to be fully enforced in practice it was seen as symbolic and a strategic war move.

What it did:

  • It declared all enslaved people free in the states not loyal to the Union.
  • It was a turning point for the war.  Up until this point the war had been fought for multiple reasons, it now declared the abolishment of slavery was the primary issue.
  • It allowed African Americans to join the military, which was pivotal for the Union’s success.

Its limitations:

  • It did not free enslaved people in the border states that had not seceded from the Union.
  • The only way to enforce it was to have a Union military presence in that state, which many states did not.

Union states:

California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin

Border States (maintained slavery, but did not secede from the Union):

Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, and West Virginia

Confederate States:

Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia

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