Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Thirteenth

The House of Representatives passed the Thirteenth Amendment on January 31, 1865. The 13th Amendment provides that “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

The 13th Amendment would be adopted on December 6th 1865, when the necessary number of states ratified it. When the amendment was ratified, slavery was legal only in the states of Delaware, Kentucky, Missouri, and New Jersey; where slaves born before 1804 could still be kept as “apprentices”. Abraham Lincoln and members of his government pushed for the Thirteenth Amendment as they were concerned that the Emancipation Proclamation would be considered a temporary measure of war. The Senate passed the amendment by 38 to 6 in April 1864, the House voted it in, in January 1865 by 119 to 56.

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