Sept. 22, 1862: President Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation

On Sept. 22, 1862, President Lincoln issued the first order of the Emancipation Proclamation, legally declaring the freedom of all slaves in the Confederate States of America. The proclamation, which did not free slaves in states that remained in the Union, was criticized initially by some abolitionists, who saw it as war propaganda and not a step toward permanent, universal abolition. Their concerns were allayed almost three years later with the ratification of the 13th Amendment, which officially banned slavery in the U.S.