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Abraham Lincoln, lithograph copy of the Emancipation Proclamation, January 1, 1863

In the Emancipation Proclamation of January 1863, President Lincoln specified areas of the nation where enslaved people would be liberated. The proclamation focused on freeing slaves held as property within states that had seceded in rebellion from the Union. States not represented in Congress were considered to be rebellious.

…I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be free…

Manuscript Division, Library of Congress

Abraham Lincoln, lithograph copy of the Emancipation Proclamation, January 1, 1863 Abraham Lincoln, lithograph copy of the Emancipation Proclamation, January 1, 1863

Proclaiming Emancipation

On January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. Designed to weaken the Confederacy, it declared that all persons enslaved in a state, or part of a state, then in rebellion against the United States were and would be forever free. The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, passed by Congress and ratified by the states in 1865, abolished slavery in all the states.