Lincoln, Emancipation, and the Limits of Constitutional Change

39 Pages Posted: 22 Jun 2009 Last revised: 11 Mar 2012

See all articles by Paul Finkelman

Paul Finkelman

Gratz College; Albany Law School

Date Written: 2009


This article examines the policy behind President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. Lincoln wrote the Emancipation Proclamation with the assumption that it would be challenged legally, while this never happened because its legality became moot after the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment, Lincoln aimed to keep the proclamation as narrowly focused and constitutionally solid as possible. The article explores constitutional limitations on emancipation, the conditions leading up to emancipation, and the lasting effects of the emancipation during and following the Civil War.

Keywords: emancipation, Lincoln, thirteenth amendment

Suggested Citation

Finkelman, Paul, Lincoln, Emancipation, and the Limits of Constitutional Change (2009). Supreme Court Review, 2008, Albany Law School Research Paper No. 44, Available at SSRN:

Paul Finkelman (Contact Author)

Gratz College ( email )

7605 Old York Road
Melrose Park, PA 19027
United States

Albany Law School

United States

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