The Significance of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation for America

January 28, 2013 // 4:00pm5:30pm
Event Co-sponsors: 
History and Public Policy Program

What were Lincoln’s motives in deciding for general emancipation? The emancipation itself changed the nature of the war. It reflected a fundamental change in Lincoln’s own thinking about the relationship of slavery to the war as well as the future place of blacks in American life. The point is not that Lincoln freed four million slaves with a stroke of the pen, but that the Proclamation was a key moment in the complex and prolonged historical process that led to the end of slavery in the United States, with consequences to the present. 

Eric Foner is DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University and a Past President of the American Historical Association. His books include Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877 (1988) and The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery (2010). 

Reservations requested because of limited seating: or 202-691-4166



5th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center
Event Speakers List: 
  • DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University
    Back to top

    Experts & Staff

    Wilson Center Photo Gallery

    Browse or share photos from the Wilson Center’s events.

    To Attend an Event

    Unless otherwise noted:

    Meetings listed on this page are free and open to the public. Reservations are not required unless otherwise noted. All meetings take place at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, DC. Please see map and directions. Allow time for routine security procedures. A photo ID is required for entry.

    To confirm time and place, contact Maria-Stella Gatzoulis on the day of the event: tel. (202) 691-4188. Check this page for the latest updates and notices.