Emancipation Proclamation (1863) is an essential executive order signed by the United States President Abraham Lincoln. The document, which came into effect on January 1, 1863, covers one of the most serious issues of that time. It defines the rights and legal status of millions of enslaved African Americans on the territory of the rebel Confederate states. Firstly, the President declares that all persons held as slaves should be considered free now and forever if the rebel states do not rejoin the Union by January 1, 1863. Secondly, he underlines that the freedom of enslaved individuals will be maintained and protected. Finally, he urges to avoid violence and oppression and guarantees free individuals the right to labor and military service.
The document was signed by President Abraham Lincoln; however, he also mentioned the Executive Government of the United States, army, and navy as authorities responsible for maintaining and protecting the freedom of African Americans. Even though enslaved people were mostly affected by the order, the Proclamation was intended for all citizens to ensure the freedom and rights of the mentioned persons. The Emancipation Proclamation was issued during the hardest period of the war when the country needed urgent governmental reaction to maintain its unity. Since the war gradually became an anti-slavery movement, the document aimed to ensure stability in the society by liberating the enslaved African Americans on the rebel territories. At the same time, the emancipation of slaves allowed them to work and join the army, which could bring a significant benefit to the weakened country. Therefore, the order was designed to regulate several social and political issues and can be considered a part of the governmental war strategy.