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The Emancipation Proclamation

 

One group of people that was not guaranteed the same rights and freedoms as other Americans was the slaves. The section about abolishing slavery was cut out of the Declaration of Independence and after the Revolutionary War, the practice of slavery became bigger and bigger in the South. In addition, African-Americans were denied freedoms that other Americans enjoyed in the North.

One of the major causes of the Civil War was the growing split of opinion in the country between those who believed in slavery and those who didn't. As the war progressed Abraham Lincoln became convinced that the emancipation of the slaves was not only morally correct, but that freeing the slaves would cripple the Southern efforts as the slaves provided much free labor for the Southern cause.

On January 1, 1863, Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation that freed the slaves. This opened the way for them to come North, participate in the Union cause. After the war it became only correct to give the slaves not only freedom, but the right of citizenship and the right to vote. This lead to the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments to the Constitution.

The original Emancipation Proclamation was lost. A copy resides in the National Archives in Washington, DC.

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