Marx aptly called the Emancipation Proclamation “the most important document in American history since the establishment of the Union.” The executive order issued by President Lincoln in the midst of the Civil War freed some four million slaves in rebel-held areas of the South, one of the largest property transfers in history.
While in official circles the anniversary of the proclamation has received little notice, its implications continue to reverberate to this day. This bold, revolutionary action serves as an inspiration to oppressed masses all over the world in the struggle against class exploitation. Meanwhile, the American ruling class, resembling more and more the old slavocracy of the South, rejects the democratic principles of the American Revolution and Civil War.
This pamphlet brings together five essays by WSWS writers on the Emancipation Proclamation and issues related to the struggle against slavery, including an interview with American Civil War historian James McPherson. It will appeal to both students of American history and those new to the subject.