One morning, while we were still slaves, Momma woke me by singing:
We can never know about the days to come
But we think about them anyway, yay
And I wonder if I'm really with you now
Or just chasin' after some finer day
Is makin' me late
Is keepin' me waitin'
With apologies to Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation of Jan. 1, 1863
and Carly Simon's Anticipation song of 1971.
The Battle of Antietam, in which Union troops turned back a Confederate invasion of Maryland, gave him that opportunity. Five days after Antietam, Lincoln called his cabinet into session on Sept. 22, 1862 and issued the Preliminary Proclamation.
Lincoln told his Cabinet that he had made a covenant with God - that if the Union drove the Confederacy out of Maryland, he would issue the Emancipation Proclamation.
The Preliminary Proclamation declared that all slaves (with some exceptions) in states that were still in rebellion as of Jan. 1, 1863, would be free. One hundred days later, with the Confederacy still in full rebellion and the nation approaching its third year of bloody Civil War, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.
The Emancipation Proclamation also allowed for the enrollment of freed slaves into the United States military. During the war nearly 200,000 blacks, most of them ex-slaves, joined the Union Army. Their contributions gave the North additional manpower that was significant in winning the war. The Confederacy did not allow slaves in their army as soldiers until its final months.
Total abolition of slavery was ratified by the Thirteenth Amendment which took effect in December 1865.