This Day (Nothing Left to Lose Edition)

Published:September 22, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe

On this day 150 years ago, in the wake of a Union victory at the Battle of Antietam, President Abraham Lincoln issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. That’s a copy of the first page below. At the top, in Lincoln’s handwriting, it reads: “Preliminary Proclamation from which a scrap was cut to paste onto the final one.” You can see the blank spot where he removed some text and later pasted it into the proclamation’s final draft, issued on January 1, 1863. A war measure designed to weaken the Confederacy’s ability to fight, the Emancipation Proclamation declared free all slaves in Confederate states. It did not literally free them, of course; that was up to the slaves and the Union army. But what it did do, within the constraints of the U.S. Constitution, was transform a war for union into a war for freedom.

PS: For an interesting discussion of this moment in history, see here.

RE THE POST’S TITLE: A little pink history, so to speak.

IMAGE: President Lincoln, writing the Proclamation of Freedom. January 1st, 1863 by David Gilmour Blythe (Library of Congress)