President Abraham Lincoln issued the first, or preliminary, Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862, when the Nation was in the middle of the Civil War (1861-1865), and southern states seceded or left the Union. The final proclamation took effect on January 1, 1863, and declared "that all persons held as slaves" within the Confederate states "are, and henceforth shall be free" and the Union military would fight to defend that freedom. It only applied to states that were “in rebellion against the United States.”


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