Have you ever read the Emancipation Proclamation? Issued by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, the historical document proclaimed “that all persons held as slaves… henceforward shall be free.” However, there’s much more to the making of the proclamation than you’d think. Take a look at what happened on the day that Lincoln announced the Emancipation Proclamation to his advisors.

Civil War

On July 22, 1862, Lincoln mentioned the Emancipation Proclamation to his highest advisors and cabinet members. It was then that Lincoln told his aides that he wanted to enact a law that would end slavery. Not only that, but Lincoln also wanted to hold off on his declaration until the Union troops triumphed in battle during the Civil War.  When Lincoln met with his colleagues in 1862, the Union wasn’t doing well against the Confederacy. Plus, the Confederacy states were on the verge of seceding from the United States.

Free at last

Thankfully, Honest Abe decided that it was time to make a decision about the country’s slavery issue. Although it wasn’t exactly Lincoln’s intention to end slavery, it was definitely a positive side effect of the proclamation. The proof? President Lincoln’s 1862 letters to newspaper editor Horace Greeley, in which Lincoln admitted, “my paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and it is not either to save or to destroy slavery.”

Lincoln’s legacy

By freeing the slaves, Abe hoped that they would join up with the Union soldiers in the fight against the Confederacy. Finally, Lincoln revealed his Emancipation Proclamation at the end of 1862. However, the crucial announcement did not touch base on the country’s border states, or the states that were outside of the president’s power. Thus, future generations of civil rights activities would be left to carry on Lincoln’s legacy.