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13th Amendment to the United States Constitution
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 language of the Thirteenth Amendment "reproduced the historic words of the ordinance of 1787 for the
government of the Northwest Territory and gave them unrestrained application within the United States and all places
subject to their jurisdiction." (
Bailey v. Alabama) Senator Jacob Howard noted that the language was ''the good old
Anglo- Saxon language employed by our fathers in the ordinance of 1787, an expression which has been adjudicated
upon repeatedly, which is perfectly well understood both by the public and by judicial tribunals."

The Supreme Court lated amplified the amendment from the intent of Congress to eliminating African-American
slavery to forbidding any type of slavery including Mexican peonage and the Chinese coolie labor system. This was
confirmed in
Hodges v. United States: "...is not an attempt to commit (the colored race) to the care of the Nation. It is
the denunciation of a condition and not a declaration in favor of a particular people."

Enforcing the Amendment
United States v Harris: "gives power to Congress to protect all persons within the jurisdiction of the United States from
being in any way subjected to slavery or involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime, and in the
enjoyment of that freedom which it was the object of the amendment to secure."

The Amendment was passed by the Senate on April 8, 1864 (by a vote of 38 to 6)  and the House on January 31,
1865 (119 to 56) and ratified on December 6, 1865. The bill had first failed passage in the House in 1864 when
President Lincoln had it inserted into the Republican platform for the 1864 election. Lincoln also supported the idea
that the southern states must pass the 13th Amendment before a state could be "readmitted" into the Union.

The Emancipation Proclamation
While the amendment technically applied to Delaware, Kentucky and a few other areas excluded by the Emancipation
Proclamation, it in effect ratified the Emancipation Proclamation. (The District of Columbia, Tennessee, West Virginia,
Maryland and Missouri had eliminated slavery during the War of Rebellion.)

On January 1, 1863 President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. On that day between 20,000 to 50,000
slaves were freed. By the end of the War slaves were freed in Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama,
Arkansas, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. The document was never challenged in court and in reading
the document it doesn't have the usual oratical style of Lincoln. It is a cold legal document issued by the
commander-in-chief of what would become a very successful wartime measure.

States that voted toward ratification
Ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment, State-by-State
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Illinois                                                                   
February 1, 1865
Rhode
Island                                                        
February 12, 1865
Michigan
February 3, 1865
Maryland
February 3, 1865  
New York
February 3, 1865  
Pennsylvania
February 3, 1865
West Virginia
February 3, 1865
Missouri
February 6, 1865
Maine
February 7, 1865
Kansas
February 7, 1865
Massachusetts
February 7, 1865
Virginia  
February 9, 1865
Ohio
February 10, 1865
Indiana
February 13, 1865
Nevada           
February 16, 1865
Louisiana    
February 17, 1865
Minnesota
February 23, 1865
Wisconsin
February 24, 1865
Vermont
March 8, 1865
Tennessee   
April 7, 1865
Arkansas
April 14, 1865
Connecticut  
May 4, 1865
New Hampshire
July 1, 1865
South Carolina
July 13, 1865
Alabama
December 2, 1865
North Carolina
December 4, 1865
Georgia
December 6, 1865