The Abolition of Slavery 1865 – Amendment

The Abolition of Slavery 1865 – Amendment

The Abolition of Slavery 1865 - Amendment
The Abolition of Slavery 1865 – Amendment – Building on the Emancipation Proclamation, the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution fully prohibited the institution of slavery.

The 13th Amendment is legally accepted into the United States Constitution after being ratified by three-quarters of the states earlier in the month. It ensures that “neither slavery nor involuntary servitude… shall exist within the United States, or any area subject to their authority.”

Before the American Civil War, Abraham Lincoln and other anti-slavery Republican Party leaders wanted to halt slavery from spreading into new territories and states in the American West, not abolish it. Most Southern leaders objected to this program, believing that the emergence of free states would irreversibly tilt the US power structure against them.

The election of Abraham Lincoln as president in November 1860 precipitated the secession of seven Southern states and the foundation of the Confederate States of America. The Civil War broke out shortly after his inauguration in 1861. Four additional slave states in the upper South joined the Confederacy, while four border slave states remained in the Union.

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The Emancipation Proclamation 1863

The Emancipation Proclamation 1863

The Emancipation Proclamation 1863
The Emancipation Proclamation – An 1890 lithograph depicting the historic proclamation.

On January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, as the country entered its third year of deadly civil war. “All people kept as slaves” within the insurgent states “are, and henceforth shall be free,” the declaration said.

Despite its broad language, the Emancipation Proclamation had significant limitations. It only applied to states that had seceded from the US, leaving slavery in the loyal border states unaffected. It also specifically omitted areas of the Confederacy (the Southern separatist states) that had already been taken over by the North. Above all, the independence it guaranteed was contingent on Union (US) military success.

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