In November 1864, President Lincoln was re-elected despite widespread war-weariness in the North. Sherman’s recent capture of Atlanta gave hope that the Civil War was near its end. The Great Emancipator nickname referred to Lincoln’s 1862 Emancipation Proclamation, a sweeping political move that freed slaves in territories not already under Union control.
Artist Dean Morrissey’s moving portrait captures the President at the close of the Civil War contemplating an unknown future for the United States. Lincoln was shot on April 14, 1865, a mere five days after Robert E. Lee’s surrender to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse. He died the next morning. The Great Emancipator, done with his earthly, practical duties, entered the realm of hero and legend.