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Emancipation Proclamation

Celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation

Please read The specified item was not found. written by guest blogger, A'Lelia Bundles, Chair and President, Foundation for the National Archives. The National Archives Foundation continues to preserve the vital records of the U.S. Government. With the generous support of the Verizon Foundation, they are able to fulfill their mission of education, enriching, and inspiring our students with the documents of American democracy. Please visit for more information about the Emancipation Proclamation (including viewing a transcript of the Proclamation.)



One of America's most well-known leaders, Lincoln, held the office of the presidency during the Civil War years. One hundred and fifty years ago on January 1, 1863, President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared all slaves within the Confederacy free. His Gettysburg Address, offered at the dedication of the military cemetery at Gettysburg, is among the best-known speeches ever given by a U.S. president.


Although often thought to be from Illinois, where his debates with Stephen A. Douglas during a race for the Senate won him national attention and the Republican nomination for President, Lincoln was actually born to Thomas and Nancy Lincoln in Sinking Spring, Kentucky, on February 12, 1809.



  • Visit Smithsonian's History Explorer's Abraham Lincoln: An Extraordinary Life (4-12), an online exhibition commemorating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln. The exhibition covers each major period of Lincoln's private and public life and includes artifacts of Lincoln's assassination - his top hat, the prison hoods of the conspirators, and other sobering reminders of his tragic story.

Now that you have a sense of Lincoln's life, explore these Thinkfinity resources to learn more of his innovative, historical legacy.

We Must Not Be Enemies: Lincoln's First Inaugural Address
EDSITEment | Lesson | 3-5
Students use primary source documents to examine Lincoln's inaugural address in the context of the historical period in which it was given and in light of Lincoln's subsequent actions.

Lincoln Goes to War
EDSITEment | Lesson | 9-12
Students explore the decision-making process that precipitated the Civil War, focusing on deliberations within the Lincoln administration that led to the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter in April 1861.

The Emancipation Proclamation: Freedom's First Steps (Attitudes Toward Emancipation)
EDSITEment | Lesson | 9-12
Students use the Internet to examine mid-19th-century newspaper coverage of, and commentary on, Lincoln's important Emancipation Proclamation to better understand the process behind the formation of the policy, public opinion about the policy and its provisions and their significance.

Abraham Lincoln, the 1860 Election, and the Future of the American Union and Slavery
EDSITEment | Lesson | 9-12
Students explore Abraham Lincoln's rise to political prominence during the debate over the future of American slavery.

Glowing Wounds
ScienceNetLinks | Science Update | 6-12
Discover the scientific facts behind a Civil War battlefield legend.

From Greece to Main Street
ARTSEDGE | Lesson | 5-8
The Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. is visited by more than three million people annually. Students learn defining elements of classical Greek architecture by comparing the Lincoln Memorial with the Greek Parthenon.

The Emancipation Proclamation (January 1, 1963)
ReadWriteThink | Reviewed Resource | 3-12
View this primary source document, the actual Emancipation Proclamation.

Visualizing Emancipation
EDSITEment | Reviewed Resource | 3-12
This resource tells the complex story of emancipation by mapping documentary evidence of black men and women's activities along with the movements of Union soldiers.


Photo: Lincoln memorial at night. by rjv541, on Flickr


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