President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation
Proclamation on September 22, 1862, as the United States was facing
a third year of civil war. The proclamation, which became effective
on January 1, 1863, declared "that all persons held as slaves"
within the rebellious states "are, and henceforth shall be free."
The following is a transcription of the proclamation:
"That the Executive will, on the
first day of January aforesaid, by proclamation, designate the States
and parts of States, if any, in which the people thereof, respectively,
shall then be in rebellion against the United States; and the fact
that any State, or the people thereof, shall on that day be, in good
faith, represented in the Congress of the United States by members
chosen thereto at elections wherein a majority of the qualified voters
of such State shall have participated, shall, in the absence of strong
countervailing testimony, be deemed conclusive evidence that such
State, and the people thereof, are not then in rebellion against the
Now, therefore I, Abraham Lincoln, President
of the United States, by virtue of the power in me vested as Commander-in-Chief,
of the Army and Navy of the United States in time of actual armed
rebellion against the authority and government of the United States,
and as a fit and necessary war measure for suppressing said rebellion,
do, on this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand
eight hundred and sixty-three, and in accordance with my purpose so
to do publicly proclaimed for the full period of one hundred days,
from the day first above mentioned, order and designate as the States
and parts of States wherein the people thereof respectively, are this
day in rebellion against the United States, the following, to wit:
Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, (except the
Parishes of St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles,
St. James Ascension, Assumption, Terrebonne, Lafourche, St. Mary,
St. Martin, and Orleans, including the City of New Orleans) Mississippi,
Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia,
(except the forty-eight counties designated as West Virginia, and
also the counties of Berkley, Accomac, Northampton, Elizabeth City,
York, Princess Ann, and Norfolk, including the cities of Norfolk and
Portsmouth[)], and which excepted parts, are for the present, left
precisely as if this proclamation were not issued.
And by virtue of the power, and for the
purpose aforesaid, 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; and that the Executive government of the
United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof,
will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons.
And I hereby enjoin upon the people so
declared to be free to abstain from all violence, unless in necessary
self-defence; and I recommend to them that, in all cases when allowed,
they labor faithfully for reasonable wages.
And I further declare and make known,
that such persons of suitable condition, will be received into the
armed service of the United States to garrison forts, positions, stations,
and other places, and to man vessels of all sorts in said service.
And upon this act, sincerely believed
to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution, upon military
necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind, and the gracious
favor of Almighty God.
In witness whereof, I have hereunto set
my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this first
day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred
and sixty three, and of the Independence of the United States of America
By the President: ABRAHAM LINCOLN
WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.