Facts, information and articles about the Thirteenth Amendent, a pivotal moment in Black History
Thirteenth Amendent summary: The 13th Amendment abolished slavery in the United States and was the first of three Reconstruction Amendments adopted in the five years following the American Civil War. The 13th Amendment, passed by Congress January 31, 1865, and ratified December 6, 1865, states:
1. 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.
2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Although President Abraham Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, there were several problems with relying on it to ensure an end to slavery in the U.S. The proclamation was issued using Lincoln’s war powers and there was concern it could be seen as temporary. The proclamation also only freed slaves, it did not abolish slavery itself. It also applied only to the states that were in active rebellion on January 1, 1863, but did not apply to slave-holding border states or to areas of Confederate states already under Union control at the time.
In December 1863 and January 1864, two bills and a joint resolution were introduced into the House and Senate, all making similar proposals for a Constitutional amendment abolishing slavery. The Senate Judiciary committee worked to combine these proposals and present them to the Senate, which passed the amendment on April 8, 1864, in a 38 to 6 vote. Unfortunately, the House did not act similarly and the amendment had to be reintroduced. This time, President Lincoln took a more active role in getting it through the house by making it part of the Republican platform in the upcoming election. The House passed it on January 31, 1865, and it was sent to the state legislatures for ratification. On December 6, 1865, the 13th Amendment was adopted—three fourths of the states had ratified it. All but three of the remaining states had ratified it by 1870 (two of those would not ratify it until the second half of the 20th century): Delaware ratified it on February 12, 1901, Kentucky on March 18, 1976, and Mississippi on March 16, 1995.
A 2012 film, Lincoln, produced by Stephen Spielberg, was based on the fight to pass the 13th Amendment.
The Corwin Amendment
Two previous amendments proposed by Congress would have become the 13th Amendment, but were not ratified. The Titles of Nobility Amendment was presented to states in 1810 and was ratified by 12 states; it would have revoked the U.S. citizenship of anyone accepting a foreign title of nobility or foreign payment without Congressional authorization.
Another attempt to write a 13th Amendment began in December 1860, when states of the Deep South were threatening to secede from the Union following Abraham Lincoln’s victory in the presidential elections. The so-called Corwin Amendment—named for Thomas Corwin, an Ohio Republican who chaired the Committee of Thirty-three that introduced the amendment into the House of Representatives—was a compromise measure passed to prevent that secession. The Committee of Thirty-three was formed at the request of President James Buchanan to explore an amendment to deal with the secession crisis; the committee included one representative from each state. The committee’s first proposal, introduced on January 21, 1861, failed to pass the House.
On February 26, Corwin introduced an abridged version of the proposed amendment. This one was the same as one that had been proposed and rejected by Senate in December.
The Senate had formed a Committee of Thirteen for the same purposes as the House’s Committee of Thirty-three. It had produced a proposed amendment submitted by New York Republican senator William Seward, the future secretary of state under President Abraham Lincoln. It would have prohibited Congress from ever abolishing or interfering with slavery. It read:
That no amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish, or interfere within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or servitude by the laws of said State.
The House failed to pass the amendment on February 27, but then following day it was accepted on a vote of 133 to 65. The Senate voted to adopt it on March 2, by 24 votes to 8.
Although a proposed constitutional amendment does not require a president’s approval, President Buchanan on his last day in office, March 3, 1861, took the unusual step of signing the bill. The following day, President Lincoln, in his first inaugural address, said he had "no objection" to the proposed amendment "being made express and irrevocable." He sent it to the states for ratification or rejection. Only Ohio and Maryland ratified it; Illinois approved it in a constitutional convention, but that vote was nullified because ratification of amendments requires approval by state legislatures, not special conventions. Ohio rescinded its approval on March 31, 1864. An attempt that year to halt the national ratification process never passed the Senate; technically, the Corwin Amendment is still awaiting action by state legislatures.
Articles Featuring The Thirteenth Amendent From History Net Magazines
When the people win by votingLincoln insisted the election of 1864 go forward—even though he was sure he would lose You hear it all the time, from Democrats and Republicans alike: The 2012 presidential campaign was the ugliest, the longest and the most expensive ever. It was a horror show from start to finish. Neither candidate discussed real issues. Each …
What is the 13th Amendment?
“Section 1. 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 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”
The 13th Amendment Defined
The 13th Amendment was proposed on January 31st, 1865
The 13th Amendment was passed on December 6th, 1865
President of the United States
Andrew Johnson was the President of the United States at the time of the ratification of the 13th Amendment; he assumes Presidency subsequent to the assassination of Abraham Lincoln
Stipulations of the 13th Amendment
The 13th Amendment declares slavery as illegal; in addition, forced servitude is also deemed to be illegal – this Amendment is regarded as the finalization of the abolishment of slavery
The 13th Amendment illustrates the distinction(s) between servitude, slavery, and consensual labor; forced labor is any type of labor that takes place through the implementation of threat(s), physically restraint of an individual with regard to the proliferation of labor, exploitative or blackmail –based activity in order to continue labor, and the implementation of fear in order to solidify servitude
‘Debt-servitude’ – or servitude implemented in order to force the repayment of debt is considered unconstitutional within the stipulations set forth within the 13th Amendment
13th Amendment Facts
The previous 12 Amendments were passed within the adoption of the Constitution of the United States
2 legal statures presenting punitive recourse with regard to the passing of 13th Amendment were enacted; the “Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law” and “Conspiracy Against Rights”
The Emancipation Proclamation (1863) was issued by President Abraham Lincoln in the midst of the Civil War, which is considered to be the primary facilitator of the proposition – and subsequent ratification – of the 13th Amendment
States Ratifying the 13th Amendment
22. New Hampshire
23. New Jersey
24. New York
25. North Carolina
29. Rhode Island
30. South Carolina
31. South Dakota
37. West Virginia
States Not Participatory in the Ratification of the 13th Amendment
Although failing to receive unanimous ratification, the 15th Amendment has since received subsequent – and collective – ratification from all applicable states
Statutes Associated with the 13th Amendment
The 13th Amendment – in addition to the 14th and 15th Amendments – is categorized as one of the 3 Constitutional Amendments regarded as ‘Reconstruction Amendments’; these Amendments took place within 5 years following the Civil War – they may also be referred to as ‘Civil War Amendments’
The 19th Amendment overturned preexisting stipulations that deny citizens of the United States the right to vote on the basis of gender; this amendment granted female citizens of the United States the right to vote.