Page 4148

4148 HISTORIC DOCUMENTS

THE EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION

[Editor's Note: If the Emancipation Proclamation is to be regarded as the

cause of the freedom of the African race in the United States, then indeed must it

be considered as among the most important documents known in history: perhaps the most important of all. The President himself and the chief supporters

of his administration had for years made no concealment of their desire that

all men everywhere should be free. The occasion was at hand. Mr. Lincoln

seized and generalized the facts, embodied them in his own words, and became

for all time the oracle and interpreter of National Necessity.]

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,

thenceforth 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 tthe 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 proclaim for the full period of one hundred days

from the day the first above mentioned, order and designate, as the