Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation
The End of Slavery in America
No single official paper in American history changed the lives of as many Americans as Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. But no American document has been held up to greater suspicion. Its bland and lawyerlike language is unfavorably compared to the soaring eloquence of the Gettysburg Address and the Second Inaugural; its effectiveness in freeing the slaves has been dismissed as a legal illusion. And for some African-Americans the Proclamation raises doubts about Lincoln himself.
Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation dispels the myths and mistakes surrounding the Emancipation Proclamation and skillfully reconstructs how America's greatest president wrote the greatest American proclamation of freedom.
Read an Excerpt
The Emancipation Proclamation is surely the unhappiest of all of Abraham Lincoln's great presidential papers. Taken at face value, the Emancipation Proclamation was the most revolutionary pronouncement ever signed by an American president, striking the legal shackles from four million black slaves and setting the nation's face toward the total abolition of slavery within three more years. Today, however, the Proclamation is probably best known for what it did not do, beginning with its apparent failure to rise to the level of eloquence Lincoln achieved in the Gettysburg Address or the Second Inaugural. Even in the... see more
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