The Emancipation Proclamation: APUSH Topics to Study for Test Day

The Emancipation Proclamation APUSH Topics

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When reviewing everything about the Civil War, one of the things that you need to review is the Emancipation Proclamation APUSH topics. Here are some things that you should know about it for the exam:

What Is the Emancipation Proclamation?

The Emancipation Proclamation, issued by President Abraham Lincoln, states “that all persons held as slaves” within the Confederate states “are, and henceforth shall be free”.

When Did the Emancipation Proclamation Take Place?

After the Union won the Battle of Antietam in September 1862, Lincoln warned the Confederate states that he would issue the Emancipation Proclamation if they did not surrender and rejoin the Union. They didn’t, and the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect January 1, 1863.

Why Is the Emancipation Proclamation Important?

One of the biggest drawbacks to the Emancipation Proclamation is that it didn’t actually free any slaves. It only freed slaves in the rebellious states, and Lincoln didn’t have authority over these states.

However, some of the positive things that came from the Emancipation Proclamation are:

  1. It changed the purpose of the war. Winning the war would become a moral victory, where a new union without slavery could be created.
  2. Europeans withdrew their support from the South.
  3. The Union could recruit African Americans as Union soldiers. (Many people thought that slaves were supporting the rebellious states in the war by taking care of their .)
  4. It became the preliminary step toward the 13th Amendment, which was ratified on December 6, 1865.
  5. More African Americans went north in pursuit of their freedom.

The People Involved

President Abraham Lincoln is the most important person to know in regards to the Emancipation Proclamation. He said, “If my name ever goes into history, it will be for this act…”

The Events Surrounding the Emancipation Proclamation

The Emancipation Proclamation was issued in the 3rd year of the Civil War. President Lincoln wanted to issue it much sooner, but he was urged to wait until after a big Union victory. Finally, the Battle of Antietam was that victory.

Practice APUSH Questions

  1. What was the immediate effect of the Emancipation Proclamation?
    1. News of the proclamation angered the slave-owning border states, so they joined the Confederacy during the Civil War.
    2. The Emancipation Proclamation shifted the purpose of the war to the morality of slavery.
    3. When Lincoln issues it, the soldiers’ morale decreased, making it difficult to recruit new soldiers for the war.
    4. The Emancipation Proclamation freed all the slaves in the Northern and Southern states.

Answer: 2. After issuing the Emancipation Proclamation, the war was no longer about restoring the Union. Instead, there was a moral war against slavery. People wanted a new Union where slavery did not exist.


  1. Which of the following statements is NOT accurate about the Emancipation Proclamation?
    1. The Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in the rebellious and border states.
    2. The Union created African American units in the Army and Navy.
    3. Because it was believed that slaves were helping the Confederates, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation to free the slaves.
    4. It created a moral cause that the Union army could stand behind.

Answer: 1. The Emancipation Proclamation did not free slaves in the border states; Lincoln didn’t want to alienate the border states by forcing them to free the slaves that lived there.


  1. DBQ Question: In what ways did African Americans shape the Civil War?

Essay ideas:

  • Because of the Emancipation Proclamation, eliminating slavery became the moral objective of the war.
  • African Americans worked to get to the Union states where they enlisted in the army, which tipped the scales for the Union army.



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2 Responses to The Emancipation Proclamation: APUSH Topics to Study for Test Day

  1. eli December 4, 2019 at 6:17 pm #

    What were other forms of emancipation that occurred throughout history other than the emancipation of slaves?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert February 7, 2020 at 1:23 pm #

      That’s a good question. I suppose it depends on your definition of “emancipation.” But I can tell you that there have been many instances in history of mass releases of prisoners (either convicts or prisoners of war) that could count as emancipation. The same goes for mass releases of indentured servants. (Indentured servants were like slaves in some ways, but their contract kept them in servitude only for a fixed period of time, and could potentially be paid off early in some cases.)

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