The Emancipation Proclamation was an executive order issued by U.S. President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, after a preliminary draft was read out on September 22, 1862. In a single stroke, it changed the federal legal status of more than 3 million enslaved persons in the designated areas of the South from "slave" to "free". It had the practical effect that as soon as a slave escaped the control of the Confederate government, by running away or through advances of federal troops, the slave became legally free. Eventually it reached and liberated all of the designated slaves. It was issued as a war measure during the American Civil War, directed to all of the areas in rebellion and all segments of the executive branch (including the Army and Navy) of the United States.

It proclaimed the freedom of slaves in ten states (excluding Tennessee). Because it was issued under the President's war powers, it necessarily excluded areas not in rebellion (Kentucky, Maryland, Delaware, and Missouri, West Virginia and the already occupied parishes within Louisiana) - it applied to more than 3 million of the 4 million slaves at the time. The Proclamation was based on the president's constitutional authority as commander in chief of the armed forces; it was not a law passed by Congress. The Proclamation did not compensate the owners, did not outlaw slavery, and did not grant citizenship to the ex-slaves (called freedmen). It made the eradication of slavery an explicit war goal, in addition to the goal of reuniting the Union.

Around 20,000 to 50,000 slaves in regions where rebellion had already been subdued were immediately emancipated. Universal emancipation in those places would come after separate state actions and/or the December 1865 ratification of the Constitution's Thirteenth Amendment, which made slavery and indentured servitude, except for those duly convicted of a crime, illegal everywhere subject to United States jurisdiction.

Emancipation Proclamation in The Guns of the South[]

President Abraham Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation the year before the Confederate States won the Second American Revolution. The CSA's victory rendered the Proclamation irrelevant.

For the Confederacy, the Proclamation designed to incite enslaved Negroes to rise up against their masters, and retroactive proof that the South's decision to secede had been correct. In truth, Lincoln had seen the proclamation a weapon of necessity, and even took the step of directing the proclamation solely at the states that had rebelled.[1] Still, when Lincoln was alone with General Robert E. Lee, Lincoln insisted that, once the Union was victorious, Lincoln planned to end slavery in the U.S. in its entirety.[2]

Emancipation Proclamation in Southern Victory[]

In the summer of 1862, during the War of Secession, US President Abraham Lincoln drafted a proclamation, emancipating all slaves within Confederate territory. However, the Confederates won at the Battle of Camp Hill, a victory that effectively won them the whole war, and the proclamation was rendered moot.[3]

In October 1862, just after Camp Hill, Lincoln tried to use the proposed proclamation to keep the British government from recognizing the Confederate States. The British Ambassador to the U.S., Lord Lyons, assured Lincoln that the issuance of the proclamation after the series of defeats the Federal forces had suffered would be seen in Britain and France as a call for servile insurrection.[4]


  1. The Guns of the South, pg. 182-183, pb.
  2. Ibid., pg. 189.
  3. How Few Remain, pg. 494, pb.
  4. American Front, pg. 6, pb.