For a nation that prides itself as the leader of the free world, I’ve always found it curious as to why this day is not set aside as a national holiday. On this day 150 years ago President Abraham Lincoln did what he promised he would do 100 days earlier by issuing his final Emancipation Proclamation. We can quibble about whether the proclamation ought to be understood narrowly as a military or moral document, but what we are always left with is the fact that it paved the way for the eventual freeing of 4 million slaves. That it did so can and should be celebrated by all Americans.
Click here for Eric Foner’s excellent Op-ed column on Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation in the New York Times.