Image from the Emancipation Proclamation America's reconstruction: Peoples and Politics After the Civil War
Emancipation Black Soldiers Rehearsal for Reconstruction A New Birth of Freedom: Reconstruction During the Civil War

Emancipation Proclamation

Proclamation of Emancipation
(Chicago Historical Society)

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Issued on January 1, 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation transformed the character of the Civil War by making the destruction of slavery an object of the Union war effort.

It also authorized the enlistment of African Americans in the Union armed forces. By placing slavery on the road to complete abolition, it made a postwar reconstruction of southern society inevitable.

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Copyright 2003
A New Birth of Freedom: Reconstruction During the Civil War The Meaning of Freedom: Black and White Responses to Slavery From Free Labor to Slave Labor Rights and Power: The Politics of Reconstruction Introduction The Ending of Reconstruction Epilogue: The Unfinished Revolution Additional Resources Credits for this Exhibit Digital History Home