The Amendment That Changed the World

The Amendment That Changed the World

( – The 13th Amendment freed a nation and created a love for a president that would stand more than a century later. The topic itself divided the nation and even resulted in the creation of a new political party: the Republicans. This party sought to free slaves in a time when intense bigotry led to horrific crimes.

“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.”

Emancipation Proclamation

The goal of the Civil War did not start as the goal of freeing the slaves. However, their freedom was a hot topic and resulted in a significant turning point for the war. At the time, tariffs had been imposed and the South rebelled against the idea of federal involvement in state finances. Both the slave trade and the production of the slaves also played an enormous role in the economy of the South. President Lincoln’s goal was to preserve the Union and prevent the South from secession.

In somewhat of a stroke of strategic brilliance, Lincoln wrote the Emancipation Proclamation, which went into effect on January 1, 1863. The Proclamation freed the slaves, but only in certain territories. More importantly for the war, it gave them the right to join the Army and the Navy. Lincoln wasn’t just counting on numbers, but also on the energy of Black men fighting to free their own people.

13th Amendment

The war tore through the South. As a result, the 13th Amendment was brought to the tables. A Republican Senate passed the Amendment in 1864, with 64 votes. But, the Democrats in the House of Representative found renewed vigor for their cause and failed to pass it. Lincoln encouraged his people to offer whatever they needed to in order to get the Amendment passed. Eventually, on January 13, 1865, the Amendment passed with a vote of 119 to 56.

The next step was to have the Amendment ratified by the states. By early December of 1865, enough states had ratified the Amendment, allowing it to be included in the Constitution. President Lincoln would never live to see the slaves freed, though. By then, Lincoln had already been assassinated.

It would take the 14th and 15th Amendments for former slaves to gain anything even close to the rights of American citizens, but the 13th Amendment is the spark that started a fire that would never go out.

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