On Sept. 22, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln informed states that had seceded from the United States that they had until Jan. 1, 1863, to end their rebellion or he would issue a proclamation freeing all slaves in those states.
None of the 10 members of Confederate States of America rescinded their secession so Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on New Year's Day 1863, freeing slaves in those states.
His proclamation, using presidential war powers, specifically exempted border states that had remained loyal to the Union and it did not make slavery illegal in the United States.
But Lincoln's action not only changed the course of the Civil War, it changed the course of history. His presidential order led to the adoption of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution on Dec. 6, 1865 - almost eight months after Lincoln's assassination.
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
So today is a very significant date in U.S. history. With his warning to the rebels, Lincoln set in action two cornerstones of our freedom - the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.
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