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Tag: New Year’s Day

Emancipation Proclamation: January 1, 1863

Today’s blog post comes from National Archives social media intern Anna Fitzpatrick.

Page 1, Emancipation Proclamation, 01/01/1863; Presidential Proclamations, 1791–2007; General Records of the United States Government, 1778–2006, Record Group 11; National Archives (National Archives ARC Identifier 299998)

On the first day of the new year in 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect, declaring freedom for slaves in parts of the Confederacy that had not yet come under Union control. Historian John Hope Franklin described the day:

[It] was a bright, crisp day in the nation’s capital. The previous day had been a strenuous one for President Lincoln, but New Year’s Day was to be even more strenuous. So he rose early. There was much to do, not the least of which was to put the finishing touches on the Emancipation Proclamation. At 10:45 the document was brought to the White House by Secretary of State William Seward. The President signed it, but he noticed an error in the superscription. It read, “In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my name and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.” The President had never used that form in proclamations, always preferring to say “In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand. . . .” He asked Seward to make the correction, and the formal signing would be made on the corrected

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