Freedom for all...serfs

It was on this day in 1861 that Tsar Alexander II of Russia wrote and published the Emancipation manifesto. The Emancipation Manifesto proclaimed the emancipation of the serfs on private estates and of the domestic serfs. By this edict more than twenty-three million people received their liberty. Serfs were granted the full rights of free citizens, gaining the rights to marry without having to gain consent, to own property and to own a business. The manifesto prescribed that peasants would be able to buy the land from the landlords. The state owned serfs were not freed until 1866. However this was a big step towards freedom.

By contrast it was not until December 1865 and the passage of the thirteenth amendment that slaves were freed in the United States. It was also on this date that slaves still held in New Jersey, Delaware, West Virginia, Maryland, Missouri and Washington, D.C. also became legally free.

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