Backstory – Thenceforward and Forever Free: The Emancipation Proclamation

On January 1, 1863, President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. In it, he announced that all slaves in the rebellious states “shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.” Today, Lincoln is remembered as “The Great Emancipator,” but the story of emancipation is complex and contradictory. And the question of how we choose to commemorate this anniversary can be touchy.

In this episode, the History Guys trace the shifting meanings of the Emancipation Proclamation, from 1863 to the Civil War’s centennial to the present. How should we best understand emancipation—as a moral imperative, military necessity, political strategy, or all of the above?

Guests Include:

David Blight - historian, Yale University
Ta-Nehisi Coates - senior editor, The Atlantic
Christy Coleman - President, the American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar
Kirk Savage, art & architecture historian, University of Pittsburgh
Michael Vorenberg - historian, Brown University

Guests: 

David Blight - historian, Yale University
Ta-Nehisi Coates - senior editor, The Atlantic
Christy Coleman - President, the American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar
Kirk Savage, art & architecture historian, University of Pittsburgh
Michael Vorenberg - historian, Brown University

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