President Lincoln seated far left holding Emancipation ‘Proclamation document in his hands. Cabinet of seven men form group to his proper left – all men identified below image. From rear left along back to left center and across: Gideon Welles, Sec. of the Navy Montgomery Blair, PM General Caleb B. SMith, Sec of the Interior Salmon P. Chase, Sec of the Treasury William H. Seward, Sec of State Edward Bates, Atty Genl Edwin M. Stanton, Sec of War.
Almost from the beginning of President Lincoln’s administration, he was pressured by abolitionists and radical Republicans to issue an Emancipation Proclamation. Although Lincoln approved of freeing slaves, he postponed action against slavery until he believed he had wider support from the American people. On January 1, 1863, after increasing public abhorrence towards slavery, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. The document declared the freedom of all slaves in Confederate territory not already under Union control. Though its immediate impact freed few of the slave population, thousands more slaves were liberated as the Union armies advanced. Eventually, close to four million slaves were freed through the declaration of the Emancipation Proclamation.