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Definition of the Emancipation Proclamation from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

 

the Emancipation Proclamation

 
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the statement made by President Abraham Lincoln on 1 January 1863 that all slaves in the Confederate States were 'forever free'. It had no actual power to make them free, but people talk about Lincoln 'freeing the slaves' because of this proclamation (= announcement). It helped the North in the American Civil War as well, by allowing black people to serve in the army and navy, and by changing the war into a fight against slavery, which caused many people in England and France to give their support to the North. The Proclamation led in 1865 to the Thirteenth Amendment to the American Constitution, which officially ended slavery in all parts of the US.