On this day in the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln signs the Emancipation Proclamation which frees slaves in territories still occupied by the rebels.

Abolitionist Frederick Douglass had this to say about that momentous day, “The first of January 1863, was a memorable day in the progress of American liberty and civilization. It was the turning-point in the conflict between freedom and slavery. A death blow was then given to the slaveholding rebellion. Until then, the Federal arm had been more than tolerant to that relict of barbarism . . . We fought the rebellion, but not its cause. And now, on this day of January 1st, 1863, the formal and solemn announcement was made that thereafter the government would be found on the side of emancipation. This proclamation changed everything.”

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