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First Day Covers



On Nov. 30, 2012
another First lady was
honored with the issuing
of a stamp,
Lady Bird Johnson



Thanks to all who visited
the FDC Lessons booth
at the Great Lakes
Regional Convention,
the Texas Social Studies Conference, the National
Social Studies
Convention and the
Esc. Region 6 Texas
History Conference.


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First Day Covers and Emancipation

On August 16, 1963 the U.S. Post Office issued a 5-cent stamp commemorating the centennial anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. It was issued on the opening day of the Century of Negro Progress Exposition being held in Chicago, Illinois. In January 2013, the US Postal Service will issue a new Forever stamp commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. The stamp is designed to give the look of a Civil War poster containing the words "Henceforward Shall Be Free." Ask students to discuss how each stamp design interprets the Proclamation.

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As our nation approaches the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, more people thanks to the movie Lincoln, are discussing the 13th amendment. Why did Lincoln believe that an amendment was needed to abolish slavery? Wasn't the Proclamation sufficient? Lincoln's proclamation, issued nearly two years into the Civil War, declared that all slaves in the rebelling states "are, and henceforward shall be free." What Constitutional power gave Lincoln the ability to free those slaves? What did Lincoln mean when he wrote "In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free." In addition, the Proclamation encouraged former slaves to "labor faithfully for reasonable wages" and authorized the recruitment of black soldiers into the Union army. Their courage in battle and contributions to the Union's ultimate victory greatly influenced the nation to adopt the 13th Amendment to the Constitution in 1865, outlawing slavery forever. Have students review the process to amend the Constitution.




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The Senate passed the amendment on April 8, 1864 but the House did not pass it until January 31, 1865. What issues might have slowed that vote? Allow students to discuss the Republican Party’s fear of being labeled as abolitionist. Why did that word have such negative connotations? Why did the Congressmen fear that freedom from slavery might also include political and social equality? Once the amendment passed Congress, how many states had to ratify it and when did that happen?

In the fall of 1865, the needed 27 of 36 states approved the 13th Amendment and the Secretary of State certified it as part of the Constitution. Though Lincoln had died, his vision became a reality.

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FDCs are little envelopes with huge messages!