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Emancipation Proclamation: Topics in Chronicling America

In 1863, more than 3.5 million enslaved African Americans in the Confederate states were declared free. This guide provides access to material related to "Emancipation Proclamation" in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.


President Abraham Lincoln issues preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. September 25, 1862. The Alleghanian (Ebensburg, PA), Image 2. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

Riding on the crest of the Antietam victory, President Lincoln mandates the freedom of all American slaves in the states that had seceded. Interpreted by Southerners as an unconstitutional and “gross outrage upon the rights of private property” and by abolitionists as a pivotal step for human rights, the Emancipation Proclamation commands an undeniable importance for the civil war and beyond. Read more about it!

The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.

The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.


September 22, 1862 Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation is issued.
January 1, 1863 President Lincoln signs and issues the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing the slaves in the Confederate states.