On this day in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed the final Emancipation Proclamation, ending slavery in the rebelling states. A preliminary proclamation had been issued in September 1862, following the Union victory at the Battle of Antietam in Maryland. The act signaled an important shift in the Union's Civil War aims, expanding the goal of the war from preservation of the Union to include the eradication of slavery. Because the Proclamation applied only in ten states that were still in rebellion in 1863, Lincoln also urged the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment. Congress passed it by the necessary 2/3 vote in February 1865 and it was ratified by the states by December 1865.
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