13th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States
27 amendments have been added to the constitution of the United States. In article five of the United States constitution, the federal constitution can be changed but the amendment proposals must be adopted and sent to the states for ratification always. The 13th amendment to the constitution impacted lives of many Americans. It is an amendment that aided in the abolishment of slavery and involuntary servitude except as a punishment for a crime. It was passed on April 8th 1864 by the senate, by the House of Representatives on January 1865 and adopted on December 6th 1865.
Slavery trade was introduced to Americans by the Great Britain colonies who captured tribes from sub-Sahara Africa. In time, all the British North American colonies became institutions of slavery. Before the 13th amendment, the United States constitution did not use words like slavery or slave, but there were provisions about unfree persons. Many people may think that President Abraham Lincoln emancipation proclamation resulted to total abolishment of slavery, but it is not the case.
The Emancipation Proclamation only freed slaves, but the 13th amendment of the constitution of United States was the core piece of legislation that undyingly got rid of the institution of slavery in the entire nation. The senate passed the proposal, but the House of Representatives was stubborn and refused to pass the proposal. President Abraham Lincoln strategy for re-election and proclamation of ending slavery convinced the stubborn representatives and the amendment was passed in 1865.
Abraham persuaded eight house democrats to switch their votes and spurred several other house representatives who had missed the previous vote to support the 13th amendment without any qualms. By 1865, slavery was abolished as the legislation became a part of the United States constitution. The United States constitution does not require any presidential signatures on any amendments; however Abraham Lincoln added his signature. Hence, the 13th amendment to the constitution is the only constitutional amendment to be later approved to have been signed by a president.
The ratification of the 13th amendment to the constitution also caught Georgia by surprise. Georgia became the 27th state to approve it out of the then total 36 states. Iowa was the 31st state to approve the amendment and voting for ratification was done on January 15th 1866. With the ratification of the 13th amendment to the Unites states constitution, approximately four million African Americans; a third of the total population of the southern region was permanently free from slavery. Here are the texts found in the thirteenth amendment to the constitution;
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.
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Despite Abraham Lincoln tragically not been able to see the 13th amendment become law, he had played great role he eradicating slavery and presented a new understanding of life and status of black Americans. Today, African-Americans are not only enjoying freedom, but also able to vote for leaders of their choice.
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