Abolition of Slavery

"Abraham Lincoln. President of the United States."
Unidentified Artist
ca. 1870

First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation by President Lincoln
Francis Bicknell Carpenter


. . . A wonderful change has taken place in society in and around the Capitol. In olden days a slave was not permitted to come within the Capitol grounds without he was with his master or mistress. When they [were] detained, they were taken up by the police, put in the guardroom. Now slavery is abolished and the colored man is on the same level as the white man (according to the Constitution). What a wonderful change. To accomplish this the country had to go through a deluge of blood, the greatest rebellion the world ever saw. The South thought they were right, the North believed they were right. The Union was preserved and today we are one of the greatest nations on the face of the earth. [3A3-3A5]

Editor's Note:

In 1863 President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which abolished slavery in Confederate controlled territory. The process was completed by the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, ratified in 1865. The 14th Amendment in 1868 granted citizenship to all persons born or naturalized in the U.S., and in 1870 the 15th Amendment guaranteed African-American men the right to vote.

People, Places, & Things:

  • Rebellion - This refers to the Civil War (1861-1865).