On April 16, 1862, US President Abraham Lincoln signed "An Act for the Release of certain Persons held to Service or Labor in the District of Columbia" into law. The act abolished slavery in the District of Columbia and created a three-commissioner panel to review petitions for compensation from Union-loyal former slaveholders. The panel had the authority to offer petitioners up to $300 for each person freed under the act. In addition, the newly freed persons were offered $100 if they emigrated to Haiti or Liberia. In January 1863, President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed slaves throughout the Confederate states, and in December 1865, the states ratified the Thirteenth Amendment and abolished slavery throughout the entire US.
Flag of the US
Learn more about slavery from the JURIST news archive.