The 13th Amendment

13th amend.


The 13th Amendment to the Constitution declared that "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." The 13th Amendment was passed by Congress on January 31, 1865, and was ratified by the states on December 6, 1865.

Its Purpose

President Lincoln wanted slavery to end, but hoped it would end by itself once it became less popular. The war determined that this was impossible and that slavery would have to be abolished by law. He wanted it to be passed before the war was won. This was so when the South reentered the Union they would not be able to overpower it from getting passed.

Its Journey



In the end, it took a year to finally pass the amendment. Even though it was eventually passed, not everyone wanted slavery to be abolished. Yes, some people around the world (yes, people in Canada and Britain, and all those other countries that knew what was happening in the U.S.) believed that slavery was bad. But, most saw slavery as a main part of the South’s economy, which also helped the North’s economy. Slaves (while badly treated) harvested many crops. One was cotton. The cotton was sent overseas or even to northern factories where it would be manufactured into cloth.

The whole slavery issue shows just how much the North and South depended on each other, even though we fought against each other in the Civil War. If the South had no more slavery, its government would crash, therefore a major trading item would be lost. No other country had soil fertile enough to harvest cotton like they could here. So, overall, people wanted to end slavery just to end the war. But eventually, after bribes and revelations, people  began to see the cruelty of slavery. Ther learned that it was not only a political problem, but also a human moral problem. Of course, moral problems aren’t always the first things to cater to in government.

Summary of 13th Amendment

The 13th Amendment was proposed by President Lincoln. He originally stated that he didn’t want to abolish slavery and that it would eventually end by itself after it became less popular. However, he believed that African Americans deserved to have at least human rights so they could defend themselves in the name of the law. Once the Civil War broke out, they needed slavery to end. For one reason, it would weaken the Confederate army and population, and if it was passed before the war was resolved the South couldn’t stop them from passing it. In the end, it was passed. It took a while, and it was difficult to get all of those people to agree on finally passing the amendment. But it was necessary for blacks to gain their true freedom of slavery and discrimination, and is therefore an extremely important part of the history of the U.S.

In Order to Understand More…

Lincoln Trailer

Lincoln Trailer

Lincoln (2012)

There are many movies explaining the Civil War, from all different views. I highly recommend Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln. It portrays our 16th president very well and shows how hard it was to pass the 13th Amendment. Even with his cabinet and all the Republicans in the House of Representatives, it took a vigorous amount of news to be spread in order for people to finally open their eyes and pass the amendment that brought our country into a new chapter.


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