Learning Lincoln On-line

FROM-- SET TWO, CIVIL WAR STUDIES

Topic Fifty-one: President Lincoln's War Time Politics

THE 13TH AMENDMENT IS PASSED IN 1865

 Goes with Lincoln's War Politics #7

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Information from Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thirteenth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution

 

         The 13th Amendment to the Constitution declared that "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction." Formally abolishing slavery in the United States, the 13th Amendment was passed by the Congress on January 31, 1865, and ratified by the states on December 6, 1865.

 

[President Lincoln saw the amendment passed, but did not see its' ratification later in December. 

 

He was assassinated April 13 of 1865.]

A CHRONOLOGY OF HOW THE AMENDMENT WAS PASSED

  • April 8, 1864 - The Senate passed the 13th Amendment (S.J. Res. 16) by a vote of 38 to 6.
  • June 15, 1864 - The House of Representatives initially defeated the 13th Amendment (S.J. Res. 16) by a vote of 93 in favor, 65 opposed, and 23 not voting, which is less than the two-thirds majority needed to pass a Constitutional Amendment.
  • December 6, 1864 - Abraham Lincoln's Fourth Annual Message to Congress was printed in the Congressional Globe: "At the last session of Congress a proposed amendment of the Constitution, abolishing slavery throughout the United States, passed the Senate, but failed for lack of the requisite two-thirds vote in the House of Representatives. Although the present is the same Congress, and nearly the same members, and without questioning the wisdom or patriotism of those who stood in opposition, I venture to recommend the reconsideration and passage of the measure at the present session."
  • January 31, 1865 - The House of Representatives passed the 13th Amendment (S.J. Res. 16) by a vote of 119 to 56.
  • February 1, 1865 - President Abraham Lincoln signed a Joint Resolution submitting the proposed 13th Amendment to the states.
  • December 18, 1865 - Secretary of State William Seward issued a statement verifying the ratification of the 13th Amendment.

WHAT WAS THE AMENDMENT ABOUT?

          The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime. In Congress, it was passed by the Senate on April 8, 1864, and by the House on January 31, 1865. The amendment was ratified by the required number of states on December 6, 1865. On December 18, 1865, Secretary of State William H. Seward proclaimed its adoption. It was the first of the three Reconstruction Amendments adopted following the American Civil War.

          Slavery had been tacitly protected in the original Constitution through clauses such as the Three-Fifths Compromise, by which three-fifths of the slave population was counted for representation in the United States House of Representatives. Though many slaves had been declared free by President Abraham Lincoln's 1863 Emancipation Proclamation, their post-war status was uncertain. On April 8, 1864, the Senate passed an amendment to abolish slavery. After one unsuccessful vote and extensive legislative maneuvering by the Lincoln administration, the House followed suit on January 31, 1865. The measure was swiftly ratified by nearly all Northern states, along with a sufficient number of border and "reconstructed" Southern states, to cause it to be adopted before the end of the year.

          Though the amendment formally abolished slavery throughout the United States, factors such as Black Codes, white supremacist violence, and selective enforcement of statutes continued to subject some black Americans to involuntary labor, particularly in the South. In contrast to the other Reconstruction Amendments, the Thirteenth Amendment was rarely cited in later case law, but has been used to strike down peonage and some race-based discrimination as "badges and incidents of slavery". While the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments apply only to state actors, the Thirteenth applies also to private citizens. The amendment also enables Congress to pass laws against sex trafficking and other modern forms of slavery.


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