How the Emancipation Proclamation Came to Be Signed

The pen, inkwell and one copy of the document that freed the slaves are photographed together for the first time

The Inkwell used by Lincoln, the Proclamation draft and Lincoln's pen. (Robert Clark / Institute)
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Ultimately, it was Lincoln who declared his own verdict on his legacy when he affixed his signature that afternoon in 1863. “I never in my life felt more certain that I was doing right,” he said, “than I do in signing this paper. If my name goes into history, it will be for this act, and my whole soul is in it.”


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