The tenets of the Emancipation Proclamation were drafted in the summer of 1862, and then placed in Lincoln’s pocket for further study. The 16th president was completely obsessed with ending the war and preserving the Union. A premature introduction of the Emancipation Plan could send the Border States to the aid of the Confederate cause. Having waited for just the right moment on Sept. 22 Lincoln published the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation which constituted a warning shot across the bow of the Confederacy.
He proposed that as of midnight on Dec. 31 all people held in the bonds of slavery in any rebel state remaining hostile to the Union would be declared free. Freedom from slavery was not offered to those residing in the states that were either supporting the Union cause or occupied by Union forces. Furthermore, any one of these states could negate the proclamation of freedom by surrendering prior to the midnight hour.