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Sources of Freedom. First Draft of the Emancipation Proclamation (July 22, 1862)

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In the summer of 1862, President Abraham Lincoln began to work in secret on a special order that he believed was a military, moral, and political necessity. On July 22, he presented this draft of the Emancipation Proclamation to his cabinet for comment. As you read the document, consider where Lincoln declared that the slaves were free. If those states did not recognize the legitimacy of Lincoln's government, what effect would his order have on daily life for their slaves? Now read the final draft of the proclamation to see how Lincoln specifically prohibited his army from returning "contraband slaves," effectively striking the Fugitive Slave Act from the books and ending the baffling practice of returning slaves to their confederate owners despite the fighting.

Abraham Lincoln, Emancipation Proclamation -- Earliest Draft, [July 22, 1862]

In pursuance of the sixth section of the act of congress entitled "An act to suppress insurrection and to punish treason and rebellion, to seize and confiscate property of rebels, and for other purposes" Approved July 17. 1862, and which act, and the Joint Resolution explanatory thereof, are herewith published, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do hereby proclaim to, and warn all persons within the contemplation of said sixth section to cease participating in, aiding, countenancing, or abetting the existing rebellion, or any rebellion against the government of the United States, and to return to their proper allegiance to the United States, on pain of the forfeitures and seizures, as within and by said sixth section provided--

And I hereby make known that it is my purpose, upon the next meeting of Congress, to again recommend the adoption of a practical measure for tendering pecuniary aid to the free choice or rejection, of any and all States which may then be recognizing and practically sustaining the authority of the United States, and which may then have voluntarily adopted, or thereafter may voluntarily adopt, gradual [strike out: "adoption"] abolishment of slavery within such State or States -- that the object is to practically restore, thenceforward to be maintain, the constitutional relation between the general government, and each, and all the states, wherein that relation is now suspended, or disturbed; and that, for this object, the war, as it has been, will be, prosecuted. And, as a fit and necessary military measure for effecting this object, I, as Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, do order and declare that on the first day of January in the year of our Lord one thousand, eight hundred and sixtythree, all persons held as slaves within any state or states, wherein the constitutional authority of the United States shall not then be practically recognized, submitted to, and maintained, shall then, thenceforward, and forever, be free.

[Endorsed by Lincoln:]

Emancipation Proclamation as first sketched and shown to the Cabinet in July 1862

*Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Transcribed and Annotated by the Lincoln Studies Center, Knox College. Galesburg, Illinois.


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