The United States was in the middle of the Civil War when President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. It declared all the slaves in the Southern states to be free. Because the order only applied to Southern states that the Union did not control, few slaves benefited immediately. But what could Lincoln do by law? Why was slavery so important to the southern states? How would Lincoln manage to keep the Union together? Discover the clever plan behind Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, and learn how it freed the first slaves. The author asks the reader what they would do if faced with these important decisions.