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Civil War Trust

Thirteenth Amendment Written into Law

December 18, 1865

Washington, D.C.

The Thirteenth Amendment. (Library of Congress)

What began as a war to reunify the Union had culminated in the outright destruction of the abominable institution of slavery. In December of 1865, the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified and thereby destroyed slavery within the nation once and for all. The amendment outlawed slavery “within the United States, or in any place subject to their jurisdiction.” The 13th Amendment required 27 of the 36 states to ratify the bill before being written into law, and on December 6th, 1865, the critical mass was reached with Georgia tallying the required 27th ratification. Then, on December 18th, Secretary of State William H. Seward certified the Thirteenth Amendment as valid, and for all intents and purposes, as a part of the Constitution. Though the 13th Amendment far from terminated the racism that permeated the nation, it ended the cruel and inhumane institution of slavery which had marred the New World for centuries.


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