Educator's Guide: Social Studies: Emancipation Proclamation


The Emancipation Proclamation was a Presidential Decree issued September 22, 1862, and took affect January 1 , 1863. Lincoln first proposed the idea to his cabinet in July 1862. The cabinet suggested that he wait, believing that a dramatic change in the focus of the war would appear to be a plea for support without a military victory. The "military victory" came at Antietam. Though it was hardly decisive, the battle near Sharpsburg, Maryland gave Lincoln the perceived victory he needed.


The students will read and study the Emancipation Proclamation and answer the following questions:

  1. Why was the proclamation issued?
  2. What factors influenced Lincoln to change his policy and issue the proclamation?
  3. Was there a hidden purpose in issuing the proclamation?
  4. By what authority did Lincoln declare Southern slaves free?
  5. Why did the proclamation fail to abolish slavery?
  6. What was Lincoln's attitude toward slavery when the war began?
  7. How did the Emancipation Proclamation affect the character and conduct of the war?

Divide the class into four groups. The students will be assigned a research topic from the activity sheet.

Classroom Activities:

  • Language Arts
  • Social Studies


  • 9 - 12


Students will analyze Lincoln's reasons for issuing the Emancipation Proclamation and evaluate its affect on the war.


Research materials, pen, paper, and Emancipation Proclamation activity sheet.

Last updated: April 14, 2015

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