On this President’s Day, my focus is on Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln’s birthday falls on February 12th. He was the original half of the reason we celebrate President’s Day. The other half was George Washington whose birthday falls on February 22nd. Now President’s Day is celebrated for all of the Presidents. Since February is also Black History Month, I want to talk about The Emancipation Proclamation. The Emancipation Proclamation was an order issued by Lincoln during the Civil War. Some people think the Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves. In fact, the Emancipation Proclamation was issued twice, first on September 22, 1862 as a warning to the Confederates to stop the Civil War and then on January 1, 1863 when the Confederates did not respond to Lincoln’s order to free their slaves. And in fact, the Emancipation Proclamation was an order issued by Lincoln to the Confederates to the free slaves in the states that had withdrawn from the Union. The only slaves that were suppose to have been freed were those in states that were in rebellion to the Union. The other slaves in the Union would remain slaves. Since the Confederates did not bow to Lincoln’s order, it is safe to say no slaves were freed by the Emancipation Proclamation.
Lincoln was in the midst of a Civil War. And although Lincoln believed ultimately that slaves should be free, he actually issued the Emancipation Proclamation as a war strategy to win the war against the Confederates. Lincoln wanted to put an end to the Confederacy and reunite the Union. The 13th Amendment passed on December 6th, 1865, abolished slavery in the United States.
So although no slaves were actually freed by the Emancipation Proclamation, the 13th Amendment actually freed the slaves.