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Abraham Lincoln visits Plattsburgh

Peter Ivarson and Dustin Nicholson view the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation at Plattsburgh State.

Peter Ivarson and Dustin Nicholson view the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation at Plattsburgh State. Photo by Stephen Bartlett.

Lincoln also said during a debate once that whites were superior to blacks.

Frederick Douglass, a former slave, leading abolitionist and writer praised Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, though he also referred to Lincoln as the “white man’s president.”

The Emancipation Proclamation was an executive order issued by Lincoln on Jan. 1, 1863, during the American Civil War and was not a law passed by Congress. It proclaimed all slaves in Confederate territory free, immediately freeing at least 50,000 slaves with the rest freed as Union armies advanced.

The Proclamation did not outlaw slavery or make ex-slaves citizens.

A rare copy of the Emancipation Proclamation sold for more than $2 million at auction in New York City this past June.

The exhibition at Plattsburgh State was accompanied by free-standing pylons that provided context for the historic significance of the three documents.

The New York State Legislature bought the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation in 1865 from Gerrit Smith, a well-known abolitionist.

The exhibition tours New York this month.

A steady crowd of people stood in a line that extended from the museum, down the stairs and to the door leading outside.

“This is a rare opportunity,” said Peter Ivarson, a Plattsburgh State student. “You can’t get much more significant than this.”

Standing behind Ivarson, Plattsburgh State student Dustin Nicholson was eager to take a peek at history.

“I love the idea of coming and looking at history,” he said. “I watch the History Channel all the time.

“I cannot believe this is a handwritten document.”

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