President Abraham Lincoln’s declaration of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 earned him the title the “Great Emancipator.” The Emancipation Proclamation was a dry, legalistic document that was limited in nature but took on enormous symbolic importance.
Lincoln proposed the Emancipation Proclamation in July of 1862 to his cabinet, offering a preliminary version to the public in September. The September proclamation warned Confederates that he would free their slaves if they did not end their rebellion. On January 1, 1863, Lincoln did just that-the Emancipation Proclamation declared that on January 1,” all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.”
Lincoln actually issued the Emancipation Proclamation twice. Abraham Lincoln issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation on September 22nd, 1862. It stipulated that if the Southern states did not cease their rebellion by January 1st, 1863, then Proclamation would go into effect. When the Confederacy did not yield, Lincoln issued the final Emancipation Proclamation on January 1st, 1863.