Educator's Guide: Social Studies: Emancipation Proclamation Activity Sheet

The focus is on the Emancipation Proclamation as a military measure for ending the war. Early in the war, Lincoln moved cautiously on the issue of slavery. However, he changed his policy after the first year of fighting. On September 22, 1862, Lincoln issued the proclamation, promising freedom to all slaves in the Confederate States that did not return to the Union by January 1, 1863.


Divide the class into groups of four to six students. Have each group complete one of the following activities.

Group One

Research the time frame for the document: Decide when Lincoln first decided to write it; when he presented it to the cabinet; and when it was finally issued. Role play Lincoln and his cabinet working out a plan to issue the Emancipation Proclamation. Who was for it? Who was against it? and Why? After the role play, discuss the timing of public announcement of the proclamation. Why did Lincoln decided Antietam was the "military victory" needed?

Group Two

Write editorials and draw political cartoons expressing Northern and Southern viewpoints, stating pros or cons of the public, politicians and military leaders. Orally present your views to the class. Allow your classmates the opportunity to debate the editorials.

Group Three

Review the meaning of cause and effect. Then using various resources, prepare a chart which identifies the effects of the Emancipation Proclamation on black abolitionists, runaway slaves, Freedmen, the Union Army, the Confederate Army and European support.

Group Four

Read the diaries, editorials and other written text from Southerners, Frederick Douglass, Abolitionists, Europeans, and politicians from both sides. Role play their reactions to the proclamation.

Last updated: April 14, 2015

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