Abraham Lincoln's major accomplishments include the Emancipation Proclamation, Homestead Acts, and the establishment of the United States Department of Agriculture. Historically, Abraham Lincoln is one of the most effective and influential United States presidents.
The Emancipation Proclamation, issued by Abraham Lincoln on Jan. 1, 1863, started the process for the abolishing of slavery in the United States. The proclamation also allowed black soldiers to fight in the Union Army against the Confederacy during the Civil War. The Emancipation Proclamation also lead to the 13th Amendment, which made indentured servitude and slavery illegal in the United States.
Abraham Lincoln's passing of the Homestead Act of 1862 allowed the poor to obtain land for the first time in the United States. Applicants who were 21 or older, had never held arms against the United States government, or were the head of a household were qualified to obtain a federal land grant, including women and freed slaves. Occupants had to live on the land for at least five years and prove that they made improvements.
The United States Department of Agriculture was established by Abraham Lincoln on May 15, 1862. Lincoln wanted it to be lead by a Commissioner who did not have Cabinet status, because he wanted it to be a "people's department" and not an entirely government-run entity. As of November, 2015, the USDA remains in charge of food laws and is responsible for federal government policies and actions on farming, forestry and agriculture.