Friday, September 22, 2017

One hundred fifty-five years ago today Abraham Lincoln issued his preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.  He waited for a Union military victory, which was achieved at Antietam.  The landmark document was officially released and signed several months later, on New Year’s Day 1863.

Later artist Francis Carpenter memorialized the event with his huge oil painting “First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation of President Lincoln,” now hangs in the U.S. Capitol.  He also wrote about his experience in working on the painting, which was done when he camped out in the State Dining Room; the book was entitled “Six Months at the White House.”

Lincoln’s five-page handwritten document was a proclamation as well as an executive order.  It was an important measure on the road to ending slavery in the United States.  Among those rejoicing in the president’s action was William Lloyd Garrison, who had been in the forefront of the abolitionist movement with his weekly newspaper “The Liberator,” which had been launched in 1831. 

Here are copies of the paper from three different decades— the years 1836, 1845 and 1860--each one of which has a slightly different nameplate.  This is riveting reading.

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