Home > History, Human Rights, Politics > Happy Birthday Thirteenth Amendment!

Happy Birthday Thirteenth Amendment!

Joint Resolution Proposing the Thirteenth Amen...

Image by The U.S. National Archives via Flickr

I thought I would kick off Black History Month with a birthday shout out to the Thirteenth Amendment 🙂

After passing through the Senate in 1864, the Thirteenth Amendment passed through the House on January 31st in 1865. The first of the three Reconstruction Amendments, the Thirteenth Amendment put into law Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, abolishing slavery, as well as involuntary servitude- except in cases of punishment, or for that matter, the military draft (In 1918, the Supreme Court ruled that the draft was not involuntary servitude, and therefore not in violation of the Thirteenth Amendment). The Amendment was adopted on December 8th, 1865, after Georgia became the 27th state to ratify it. In 2000, the amendment was updated to protect victims of human trafficking due to psychological coercion.

Ironically, an earlier Thirteenth Amendment was passed by Congress and signed by President
Buchanan in 1861. This amendment, known as the Corwin Amendment, would have forbidden the adoption of any constitutional amendment that would have abolished or restricted slavery, or permitted the Congress to do so. It was an obvious attempt to stop secession, but was only ratified by three states, and soon died its rightful death. However, it did have the full support of Abraham Lincoln after he first took office, showing that Lincoln was more about preserving the Status Quo than he was about protecting human rights.

So there you have it: The Thirteenth Amendment, 147 years old, and still going strong. I’m still waiting on that Equal Rights Amendment though, anybody heard from it lately?

Posted from my piece of crap Blackberry

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  1. pdadkins
    February 2, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    Fla’s trying to get it up for a vote on the state house floor this year. They’re looking at up to 40 sponsors so far. Here’s to hoping . . .

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