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The Emancipation Proclamation (lithograph copy), by Abraham Lincoln, January 1, 1863

In the Emancipation Proclamation of January 1863, President Abraham 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 from the Union, exempting areas under Union control.

Manuscript Division, Library of Congress

The Emancipation Proclamation (lithograph copy), by Abraham Lincoln, January 1, 1863

The Thirteenth Amendment

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 Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, passed by Congress and ratified by the states in 1865, abolished slavery nationwide.

Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude except as punishment for a crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall hereafter exist within the United States or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Thirteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution