On January 1, 1863, the President of the United States signed a controversial executive order. Our country was in a precarious place socially, economically, and politically. We were in the midst of a Civil War, and Abraham Lincoln had been president for two years. The executive order was known as the “Emancipation Proclamation” and officially, it ended the practice of slavery in the United States. Click 20170326 Giving up our lives to read/download the sermon.