Today In History Spotlights Jan. 1, 1863, President Lincoln Signs the Emancipation Proclamation

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Today’s History Spotlight

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President Abraham Lincoln signs the Emancipation Proclamation. Though Lincoln’s original goal at the outset of the Civil War was the preservation of the union, he soon saw the complete abolition of slavery as a means of achieving that goal. As the war’s early years progressed, he began to envision a new birth of freedom for the country.

Lincoln would turn the tide of the war to not just restoration of the union, but freedom for African-American slaves. Though the proclamation did not take immediate effect, as it only pertained to slavery in Confederate states, the document paved the way for the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which Lincoln pushed for as the war neared its end.

What Happened On This Day – January 1

  • 1999 The Euro becomes the official currency in 11 countries. While the Euro was already valid for bank transfers, notes and coins were introduced on January 1, 2002.
  • 1993 Czechoslovakia is dissolved. The country was peacefully divided into the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic.
  • 1992 Russia is formed. The formation of the Russian Federation followed the disintegration of the Soviet Union.
  • 1958 The European Economic Community is founded. The EEC was a predecessor of today’s European Union (EU)
  • 1912 Republic of China is founded. It was succeeded by the People’s Republic of China in 1949.

Births On This Day – January 1

  • 1977 Bobby Roode – Canadian wrestler
  • 1895 J. Edgar Hoover – American 1st Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • 1864 Alfred Stieglitz – American photographer
  • 1863 Pierre de Coubertin – French historian, educator, founded the International Olympic Committee
  • 1735 Paul Revere – American military officer

Deaths On This Day – January 1

  • 1997 Townes Van Zandt – American singer-songwriter, guitarist
  • 1958 Edward Weston – American photographer
  • 1953 Hank Williams – American singer-songwriter, guitarist
  • 1894 Heinrich Hertz – German physicist
  • 1782 Johann Christian Bach – German composer

The sections “What Happened On This Day,” “Births On This Day,” and “Deaths On This Day” originally appeared at and is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Garrett Smith
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