Today in 1865 our nation ratified the 13th Amendment, finally putting an end to legal slavery. It took a long bloody war to bring it about and there are still knuckledraggers who resent that it happened, but it was an important step in our quest to form a more perfect union.
The Thirteenth Amendment (Amendment XIII) to the United States Constitution abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime. The amendment was passed by the Senate on April 8, 1864, by the House of Representatives on January 31, 1865, and ratified by the required 27 of the then 36 states on December 6, 1865, and proclaimed on December 18. It was the first of the three Reconstruction Amendments adopted following the American Civil War.
President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, effective on January 1, 1863, declared that the enslaved in Confederate-controlled areas were free. When they escaped to Union lines or federal forces (including now-former slaves) advanced south, emancipation occurred without any compensation to the former owners. Texas was the last Confederate territory reached by the Union army. On June 19, 1865, U.S. Army general Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, to proclaim the war had ended and so had slavery (in the Confederate states). In the slave-owning areas controlled by Union forces on January 1, 1863, state action was used to abolish slavery. The exceptions were New Jersey, Kentucky and Delaware, where all forms of forced labor were finally ended by the Thirteenth Amendment in December 1865.
In contrast to the other Reconstruction Amendments, the Thirteenth Amendment has rarely been cited in case law, but it has been used to strike down peonage and some race-based discrimination as "badges and incidents of slavery". The Thirteenth Amendment has also been invoked to empower Congress to make laws against modern forms of slavery, such as sex trafficking.
Now let’s codify a woman’s right to choose.
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