On this day: Emancipation Proclamation announced to cabinet

On this day: Emancipation Proclamation announced to cabinet
The Emancipation Proclamation. (Source: National Archives)

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Two months prior to the Emancipation Proclamation being unveiled publicly, President Abraham Lincoln informed his cabinet of his intent to issue the wartime decree on July 22, 1862.

Lincoln chose to wait until he could use the Union’s success in battle to bolster the announcement.

He got the victory he needed Sept. 17, 1862, at the Battle of Antietam (also called the Battle of Sharpsburg) when the Confederate Army was forced to withdraw from its invasion into Maryland.

Five days later, on Sept. 22, 1862, Lincoln announced the Emancipation Proclamation publicly, and it went into effect Jan. 1, 1863.

The Emancipation Proclamation.
The Emancipation Proclamation. (Source: National Archives)

Though it granted freedom to slaves in the Confederate states, Lincoln’s primary motivation was to preserve the Union, believing it would lead former slaves to join the Union Army and decimate the Confederacy’s workforce.

For more on Virginia’s history, listen to “How We Got Here,” a podcast produced by NBC12.

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