The 13th Amendment:
· After the decisive battle of Antietam in September, 1862, when the Union beat the Confederate troops, President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring that all slaves in the rebelling states were free as of January 1, 1863. Lincoln’s speech changed the tone of the Civil War from a battle about the rights of states versus the rights of the central government. The Civil War became about ending slavery once and for all. Lincoln realized that the Emancipation Proclamation was symbolic. He began lobbying Congress to amend the U.S. Constitution to end slavery.
· April 8, 1864 – The Senate passed the Thirteenth Amendment
· June 15, 1864 – The House of Representatives initially defeated the 13th Amendment by a vote of 93 in favor, 65 opposed, and 23 not voting, which is less that two-thirds majority needed to pass a Constitutional Amendment.
· January 31, 1865 – The House of Representatives passed the 13th Amendment 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.
· The first bill introducing the anti-slavery 13th Amendment was introduced into the House of Representatives by James Mitchell Ashley (Ohio), on December 14, 1864, nearly a year after President Lincoln issued the final executive order for the Emancipation Proclamation.
· The Senate Judiciary Committee drafted the final language for the 13th Amendment. The language of the amendment is simple. It is written in two sections.
· Section I of the 13th Amendment states; “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.”
· Section II of the 13th Amendment states; “Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”