Emancipation Proclamation is blueprint for freedom

May 17, 2013 

So in an ironic twist, one of the profound documents in American History, the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, will rest for a month in the N.C. Museum of History, just a few yards from the State Capitol and its monuments to the state’s efforts in the Civil War.

School children and all those with an interest in history and an understanding of the everlasting contributions of Abraham Lincoln to this country’s preservation as a democracy should see the document, handwritten and seven pages long, done in 1862 by a staff member of the Department of State. The document really was the beginning of the arduous process (detailed in the film “Lincoln”) that led to the passage of the 13th Amendment freeing slaves.

This proclamation was issued to the Confederate states by the president as a warning to cease their hostilities toward the government. It included some things that weren’t in the final proclamation, the establishment of a colony for those of African descent and compensation for slave owners.

This document, far more than the monuments nearby, is about history. The recognition of the Confederate dead is appropriate to some degree as a remembrance of sacrifice, but Lincoln’s action in freeing the slaves changed the lives of all Americans and the future of the country itself.. The document will be at the museum through June 16, in an area with light and temperature control. And the display is, appropriately, free.

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