More than 150 years ago this week, Lincoln formally signed his preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, which warned Confederate states that he wanted to free all persons held as slaves within the rebellious states. This came as a surprise to many people because it presented a huge shift in the purpose of the war: the North would now be fighting to end slavery, instead of focusing the majority of its attention on preserving the Union. Shockingly, even Lincoln’s advisors didn’t support him when Lincoln first told his Cabinet in the summer of 1862. They thought it was too radical.
On September 22, 1862, Lincoln signed his preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, which read:
“When the Confederacy was still in full rebellion one hundred days later, Lincoln issued his final Emancipation Proclamation, freeing slaves within the rebellious states. However, not many slaves were actually freed from this Proclamation since Lincoln and the United States could not enforce any laws in areas they didn’t control.”