Emancipation Proclamation Dbq

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As a milestone along the road to slavery’s final destruction, the Emancipation Proclamation has assumed a place among the great documents of human freedom. Still, at the time Americans recognized its limited effect: the Emancipation Proclamation had no legal status. The Thirteenth Amendment, ratified in December 1865, remedied this problem by making emancipation part of the nation’s fundamental law. Debated then and now was the question of whether the amendment went beyond merely freeing the slaves. Did it promise, in addition, a full measure of freedom for all Americans? It changed the way Americans thought about the Constitution because in the decades leading to the Civil War, the Constitution had become an increasingly sacred text.

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