The Calvin Shedd Papers > Background > Emancipation Proclamation

Emancipation Proclamation

Date(s) of Letter(s) Boatner, Mark M. The Civil War Dictionary.  New York: David McKay Company, Inc., 1959.  
October 12, 1862
President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862, to take effect January 1, 1863.   The decree freed all slaves in those parts of the nation still in rebellion.  In July, 1862, Lincoln had proposed the idea and read a preliminary draft to his cabinet.  Secretary of State William Seward cautioned Lincoln to wait, believing that such a dynamic change in the war's focus would be ineffective without a military victory.  Until this point the focus of the war was on preserving the Union and not to disrupt the South's social structure.  The battle of Antietam, though hardly decisive, gave Lincoln the opportunity he needed.  Many historians feel this event to be a turning point in the war.  Popular sentiment in Europe swung to the side of the North and destroyed the South's hope for foreign assistance.    (Boatner, pp. 21, 265)