Lincoln floated several proposals to end slavery during the war, ranging from compensated emancipation to colonization. Both were rejected by congressional leaders for being too expensive. In fact, members of his administration met with the largest slave-owner in Delaware (a Republican) and the two hammered out a deal which would have paid slave-owners quite well for emancipation. Lincoln was a typical politician who said what he thought people wanted to hear. He had long been against slavery extension but was not a committed abolitionist. The Proclamation, as Kevin suggests, was the first step in ending de jure slavery in North America, but Delaware maintained slavery until December 1865. The EP did nothing to free slaves in the North or border States, only those under military occupation. I have long said that people should celebrate the 13th amendment if they wish to mark the end of slavery, not the EP.