The Emancipation Proclamation is a landmark of American history. As divisive as it was daring, Abraham Lincoln’s historical document, issued as the nation was consumed in an unthinkably violent civil war, declared that “all persons held as slaves” within the rebellious states “are, and henceforward shall be free.”
Behold the original document on display inside Discovering the Civil Warfor a very limited time during a special public viewing beginning Feb.16-Feb. 21, 2012 at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Background on the Emancipation Proclamation
President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, during the American Civil War, formally proclaiming the freedom of all slaves held in areas still in revolt. The issuance of this Proclamation clarified and strengthened the position of the Union government, decreased the likelihood of European support of the Confederacy, and, as the Union armies extended their occupation of the southern states, brought freedom to the slaves in those states. The Proclamation invited black men to join the Union Army and Navy, resulting in the enlistment of approximately 200,000 freed slaves and free black people before the War’s end.
Although the Emancipation Proclamation did not end slavery in the nation, it placed the issue squarely on top of the wartime agenda. It added moral force to the Union cause and was a significant milestone leading to the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution in 1865, formally outlawing slavery throughout the nation.
The Emancipation Proclamation linked the preservation of American constitutional government to the end of slavery, and has become one of our country’s most treasured documents.
Relive the gripping saga of one of the bloodiest battles in American and world history. Discovering the Civil War, a special exhibition from the National Archives commemorating the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War gives visitors the opportunity to consider and ask questions about historical evidence, listen to a wide variety of voices, and make up their own minds about the struggle that tore apart these United States and that continues to shape our national identity. The exhibition is the largest ever assembled from the incomparable Civil War holdings of the National Archives.
Due to the limited nature of this rare viewing opportunity, it is highly recommended that visitors pre-book tickets. Tickets may be purchased online or by phone. For more information, visit www.hmns.org.