160 years ago today, Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.
The Union army had been freeing slaves in seceding slave states for over a year and the proclamation didn’t free all slaves, nor did it end slavery, so to say, as I’ve heard, that one stroke of the pen freed all the slaves overstates the case.
Still, it was a major step forward. Beside freeing many slaves, it pressured slave states to abolish slavery. Since enough did and became free states, the Thirteenth Amendment became possible.
I’ll add that it evolved in part from the 1688 Germantown Quaker Petition Against Slavery, which I mention since I grew up in Germantown. From Wikipedia: it “was the first protest against enslavement of Africans made by a religious body in the Thirteen Colonies.”
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