January 1, 1863: President Abraham Lincoln issues Emancipation Proclamation

The executive order abolished slavery in all Confederate states. As a result, black soldiers were able to fight for the Union and slavery became a central issue in the Civil War.

Image:  Illustrated drawing from Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper.  The except describing the drawing reads, “Few incidents have been more curious and instructive than that witnessed some time before the fall of Vicksburg, when the slaves of Jefferson Davis from his plantation on the Mississippi came into camp.  It seemed in itself the doom of slavery…”

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