The pivotal document of the Civil War, this proclamation freed the slaves and opened a new chapter in the nation's history. To emancipate means to liberate or free someone. The Emancipation Proclamation was a presidential order made by Abraham Lincoln on September 22, 1862. It was a military order that freed any slave held in the Confederacy as of January 1, 1863. While this proclaimed slaves in the South free, it did not end all slavery in the United States. That was accomplished by the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution ratified In 1865.