Celebrate Freedom Week!

September 17-21, 2012

Emancipation Proclamation

The Emancipation Proclamation is an executive order issued by United States President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, during the American Civil War using his war powers. It was not a law passed by Congress. It proclaimed the freedom of slaves in the ten states then in rebellion, thus applying to 3.1 million of the 4 million slaves in the U.S. at that time. The Proclamation immediately freed 50,000 slaves, with nearly all the rest (of the 3.1 million) freed as Union armies advanced. The Proclamation did not compensate the owners, did not itself outlaw slavery, and did not make the ex-slaves (called freedmen) citizens.[1]On September 22, 1862, Lincoln issued a preliminary proclamation that he would order the emancipation of all slaves in any state of the Confederate States of America that did not return to Union control by January 1, 1863. None returned, and the order, signed and issued January 1, 1863, took effect except in locations where the Union had already mostly regained control. The Proclamation made abolition a central goal of the war (in addition to reunion), outraged white Southerners who envisioned a race war, angered some Northern Democrats, energized anti-slavery forces, and weakened forces in Europe that wanted to intervene to help the Confederacy.[2]Slavery was made illegal everywhere in the U.S. by the Thirteenth Amendment, which took effect in December 1865.

American Revolution

The American Revolution was the political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which thirteen colonies in North America joined together to break free from the British Empire, combining to become the United States of America. They first rejected the authority of the Parliament of Great Britain to govern them from overseas without representation, and then expelled all royal officials. By 1774, each colony had established a Provincial Congress, or an equivalent governmental institution, to govern itself, but still within the empire. The British responded by sending combat troops to re-impose direct rule. Through the Second Continental Congress, the Americans managed the armed conflict against the British known as the American Revolutionary War (also: American War of Independence, 1775–83).

Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of Independence was a statement adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, which announced that the thirteen American colonies, then at war with Great Britain, regarded themselves as independent states, and no longer a part of the British Empire. John Adams had put forth a resolution earlier in the year, making a subsequent formal declaration inevitable. A committee was assembled to draft the formal declaration, to be ready when congress voted on independence. Adams persuaded the committee to select Thomas Jefferson to compose the original draft of the document,[2] which congress would edit to produce the final version. The Declaration was ultimately a formal explanation of why Congress had voted on July 2 to declare independence from Great Britain, more than a year after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War. The Independence Day of the United States of America is celebrated on July 4, the day Congress approved the wording of the Declaration.

Bill of Rights

The Bill of Rights is the collective name for the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. These limitations serve to protect the natural rights of liberty and property.