Abolition of Slavery

Abolition of Slavery - Stories


The signed document

Here's the document, which was approved Feb 1, 1865

Partial transcription

    Article XIII 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 House of Representatives

      Journal of the House of Representatives. Session beginning December 5, 1864. Page 4.

      I couldn't read the signature of the Speaker of the House on the amendment, so I searched around on the web and found these images on the Library of Congress website. The first shows who was the speaker of the House at the session when the ammendment was signed: Schuyler Colfax

      The remaining show the members of the House.

      Excerpts of letter from Abraham Lincoln asking the House to pass the amendment

      Very impressive letter from Lincoln. A few excerpts:

      "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."

      (sounds like simple persistence made the difference here)

      "I repeat the declaration made a year ago, that 'while I remain in my present position I shall not attempt to retract or modify the emancipation proclamation, nor shall I return to slavery any person who is free by the terms of that proclamation, or by any of the acts of Congress.' If the people should, by whatever mode or means, make it an Executive duty to re-enslave such persons, another, and not I, must be their instrument to perform it."

      Notes around when the document was signed

      These images are from the Library of Congress web site, and show the notes from the session when the amendment was passed (on the 31st) and when it was signed (Feb 1st).

      These notes show who voted for and against the amendment.  I want to break it down by state when I get some time.  It would be interesting to see how the votes fell among the Southern states representatives.