Despite his personal distaste for slavery, Abraham Lincoln entered the presidency pledging to leave America’s "peculiar institution" untouched in those states where it existed. But by the summer of 1862, Lincoln had come to view the emancipation of all slaves within Confederate-held territory as both a military and a moral necessity. He shared a preliminary version of his Emancipation Proclamation with members of his cabinet in July, and released it publicly on September 22, 1862. Although Lincoln’s proclamation applied only to slaves within the rebellious states, Frederick Douglass declared that it had "thrown a moral bombshell in the Confederacy." When Lincoln signed the much-anticipated final version of the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, it was widely regarded as "the death-warrant of slavery."
Produced to commemorate Lincoln’s historic edict, this decorative print includes the text of the Emancipation Proclamation, accompanied by contrasting images of war and peace, slavery and freedom.