NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1003787
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0037-7724
1863 Letter from the Department of State to the Government Printing Office
Potter, Lee Ann
Social Education, v76 n6 p272-277 Nov-Dec 2012
On Saturday, January 3, 1863, Assistant Secretary of State Frederick W. Seward sent a letter to John D. Defrees, superintendent of Public Printing, asking that 500 copies of a "circular and proclamation" be printed. The letter also gave specific instructions as to what type of paper was to be used, the layout, and when the department wanted the copies to be ready. The circular he referred to was from his father, Secretary of State William H. Seward, who ordered that it be sent to all of the diplomatic and consular agents of the United States serving abroad. It began by announcing that President Abraham Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation. It continued by explaining what the proclamation meant. And it concluded with his, and the president's, deep feelings about the proclamation's significance. Officials at the newly established Government Printing Office recorded in a register of print jobs completed for the Department of State, that 500 copies of the circular and the "Proclamation of President" were in fact printed. As soon as the copies were ready, officials at the Department of State sent them to the American consulates and embassies around the world. Depending on the ease or difficulty of mail delivery to various locations, officials received them at different times in the coming weeks. Many began receiving them toward the end of January and promptly responded. Whether speculating about the Emancipation Proclamation's impact, describing the reactions they witnessed abroad, or sharing their personal feeling about proclamation, the widespread response reported by State Department officials to Lincoln's proclamation declaring slaves "forever free" resonated around the globe.
National Council for the Social Studies. 8555 Sixteenth Street #500, Silver Spring, MD 20910. Tel: 800-683-0812; Tel: 301-588-1800; Fax: 301-588-2049; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A