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The Emanicpation Proclamation

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."

–Abraham Lincoln, The Emancipation Proclamation Jan. 1, 1863


               While the Civil War began as a war to restore the Union, not to end slavery, by 1862 President Abraham Lincoln came to believe that he could save the Union only by broadening the goals of the war. The Emancipation Proclamation is generally regarded as marking this sharp change in the goals of Lincoln's war policy. Under his authority as the Commander in Chief, President Lincoln proclaimed the emancipation, or freeing, of the enslaved African Americans living in the states of the Confederacy which were in rebellion.


               The Proclamation was, in the words of Frederick Douglass, "the first step on the part of the nation in its departure from the thralldom of the ages." Through examination of the original document, related writings of Lincoln as well as little known first person accounts of African Americans during the war, students can return to this "first step" and explore the obstacles and alternatives we faced in making the journey toward "a more perfect Union."

Guiding Questions


  • Why and how did President Abraham Lincoln issue the Emancipation Proclamation ?

  • What was its impact on the course of the war?

  • What does the Emancipation Proclamation mean to us today?

Learning Objectives/Common Core Activities


After completing this unit, students will be able to

  • Evaluate the provisions of the Emancipation Proclamation and its intended effect on the waging of the Civil War


  • Trace the stages that led to Lincoln's formulation of this policy


  • Explore African American opinion on the Proclamation


  • Document the multifaceted significance of the Emancipation Proclamation within the context of the Civil War era




 You are a trusted member of President Lincoln's "inner circle" and his Secretary of Defense.  

You are also an abolitionist.

 When asked by the President to register your thoughts and views about issuing the Emancipation Proclamation, what would you say?

What do you think and feel is right?

 What are the practical issues that must be considered?

Systematically  detail  this issue weighing all sides and playing 'devil's advocate' before arriving at your decision.



PowerPoint Presentation:  

The Emancipation Proclamation

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Click on Picture Below to Go to Activity:  The Emancipation Proclamation - Freedom's First Steps

Mr. Green's Lecture on The Emancipation Proclamation  

This is not easy!!!

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