Return to Dr. Bronson's St. Augustine History
Lincoln's
Emancipation Proclamation
January 1, 1863
The Emancipation Proclamation was first issued September 22, 1862 and the final order was issued
January 1, 1863. The act gave all slaves in the State of Florida their freedom including the City of St.
Augustine, Florida and other areas throughout the south (including the
Department of the South).  As
the Union troops gradually took possession of the south they carried with them the message of
freedom for millions of slaves. Slavery was finally abolished everywhere by the ratification of the
Thirteenth Amendment on December 18, 1865.

The second part of the proclamation allows the creation of African-American regiments in the armed
forces (the Navy had already accepted black sailors earlier).

Gideon Welles (Secretary of the Navy)  Diary        
September 22. “A special Cabinet-meeting. The subject was the Proclamation for emancipating the
slaves after a certain date, in States that shall then be in rebellion. For sever weeks the subject has
been suspended, but the President says never lost sight of. When it was submitted, and now in taking
up the Proclamation, the President stated that the question was finally decided, the act and the
consequences were his, but that he felt it due to us to make us acquainted with the fact and to invite
criticism on the paper which he had prepared. There were, he had found, not unexpectedly, some
differences in the Cabinet, but he had, after ascertaining in his own way the views of each and all,
individually and collectively, formed his own conclusions and made his own decisions. In the course of
the discussion on this paper, which was long, earnest, and on the general principle involved,
harmonious, he remarked that he had made a vow, a covenant, that if God gave us the victory in the
approaching battle, he would consider it an indication of Divine will, and that it was his duty to move
forward in the cause of emancipation. It might be thought strange, he said, that he had in this way
submitted the disposal of matters when the way was not clear to his mind what he should do. God had
decided this question in favor of the slaves. He was satisfied it was right, was confirmed and
strengthened in his action by the vow and the results.”

December 29, 1862 (Gideon Welles Diary)
"At the meeting today, the President read the draft of his Emancipation Proclamation, invited criticism,
and finally directed that copies should be furnished to each. It is a good and well-prepared paper, but I
suggested that a part of the sentence market in pencil be omitted (unknown).
Chase advised that
fractional parts of States ought not be exempted. In this I think he is right, and so stated. Practically
there would be difficulty in freeing parts of States, and not freeing others, --- a clashing between
central and local authorities."

December 31, 1862 (Gideon Welles Diary)
"We had an early and special Cabinet-meeting, convened at 10 a.m. The subject was the Proclamation
of tomorrow to emancipate the slaves in the Rebel States. Seward proposed two amendments, ---one
including mine, and one enjoining upon, instead of appealing to, these emancipated, to forbear from
tumult. Blair had, like Seward and myself, proposed the omission of a part of a sentence and made
other suggestions which I thought improvements. Chase made some good criticisms and proposed a
felicitous closing sentence. The President took the suggestions, written in order, and said he would
complete the document."

January 1, 1863 (Gideon Welles Diary)
"The Emancipation Proclamation is published in this evening's
Star. This is a broad step, and will be a
landmark in history. The immediate effect will not be all its friends anticipate or its opponents
apprehend. Passing events are steadily accomplishing what is here proclaimed.

The character of the country is in many respects undergoing a transformation. This must be obvious to
all, and I am content to await the results of passing events, deep as they may plough their furrows in
our once happy land. This great upheaval which is shaking our civil fabric was perhaps necessary to
overthrow and subdue the mass of wrong and error which no trivial measure could eradicate. The
seed which is being sown will germinate and bear fruit, and tares and weeds will also spring up under
the new dispensation."





By the President of the United States of America:

                                            
A Proclamation.

Whereas, on the twenty-second day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight
hundred and sixty two, a proclamation was issued by the President of the United States, containing,
among other things, the following, to wit:

"That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three,
all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then
be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the
Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will
recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such
persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.

"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 United States."

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. Johns,
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 the eighty-seventh.

By the President: ABRAHAM LINCOLN
WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.
Lincoln signing the Emancipation Proclamation
painted by F.B. Carpenter ; engraved by A.H. Ritchie -Library of Congress c 1866
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