Commander in Chief & Great Emancipator


Abraham Lincoln. A proclamation. Washington, D.C., 1862.

Lincoln had decided in late 1862 to issue a proclamation freeing the enslaved population within the Confederacy, but waited for a Union victory to do so.  The battle of Antietam was enough of a victory for Lincoln to move forward with his plan.  He issued this proclamation on 22 September 1862, stating that it would take effect on 1 January 1863. Lincoln was reported to remark as he signed the measure on New Year’s Day that “if my name ever goes into history, it will be for this act.” The writing on the bottom of this copy, in the hand of Charles Sumner, senator from Massachusetts, states that this was an “official copy from the Department of State.”

p*AB85.L6384.862b    Purchased in 2006 on the Bayard Livingston & Kate Gray Kilgour Fund.