On January 1, 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect in the USA.
The declaration called upon the Union army to liberate all slaves in the rebellious states – “an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution, upon military necessity”. This effectively set free three million slaves, although abolition of slavery wasn’t ratified until later.
Until 1862 the question of slavery was a side issue in the Civil War which essentially was being fought on points of secession. In 1862, various political moves began to bring slavery to the head of the agenda and with the Emancipation Proclamation, the war turned into a war “for a new birth of freedom” which was later underlined in Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address in November 1863.
The abolition of slavery passed into the Constitution as the 13th Amendment in 1865. Hallelujah!
Also on this day:
1959: In Cuba, Batista falls to Castro’s Revolution.
1863: The first homestead claim is filed in Nebraska
1942: The Declaration of the United Nations is signed by the Allies in WWII.
1958: Johnny Cash plays his first prison gig at San Quentin
1959: In Cuba,Batista falls to Castro’s Revolution.
1971: In the USA, tobacco ads were banned from TV and radio broadcast.
1994: Bill Gates, Microsoft CEO married Melinda French.
1997: Fred West, English serial Killer (12 murders) was found hanging in his cell.