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President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863.  This executive order was a war measure directed at the rebel states and declared the ten states that were rebelling to be free. The proclamation excluded the areas that were under the Union’s control, but still applied to around 4 million slaves at that time. The Emancipation Proclamation was not a law that Congress had passed, but an executive order based on the president’s authority over the armed forces as specified in the Constitution.

Recruiting Soldiers

In a way, the proclamation was a way to get more soldiers on the Union Army’s side. It specifies that suitable freed slaves could enrol and be paid to fight for the Union and that the Union’s military personnel had to recognize the freedom of these former slaves. Lincoln may have seen the Emancipation Proclamation as a necessity from a military perspective: in 1862 the Union wasn’t doing too well in the war. By taking away the Confederate’s slave workers, it would not only add to the strength of the Union Forces, but also weaken the Confederacy by taking away the labor that helps to produce their supplies.


Did the Emancipation Proclamation Automatically Give Slaves Citizenship?

No, slaves did not get citizenship through the proclamation, neither did it make slavery illegal. The Emancipation Proclamation simply made it a war goal to rid the U.S. of slavery.

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