End of Slavery 13th Amendment to the Constitution for Kids and Teachers Illustration

13th Amendment
End of Slavery

For Kids - 13th Amendment - the end of slavery

During the Civil War, President Lincoln issued a proclamation in 1863 - the Emancipation Proclamation. That proclamation stated that all slaves NOT under Union control were freed! This sounds nice, but in fact, the Emancipation Proclamation did not free a single slave. It did not free slaves in the border states. It did not free slaves in any Union controlled areas in the South. Nor did any states in the South recognize this proclamation as a law that pertained to them. The Confederate States of America had seceded from the Union and had elected their own president, Jefferson Davis. They ignored the Emancipation Proclamation, as Lincoln knew they would.

The Proclamation was not written to free slaves but rather to create unrest among slaves in the South. Once slavery was made an issue in the war, England and France would no longer pump monies into the South to help their cause, as Lincoln predicted. Other countries might wish to see the United States weakened and divided, but Lincoln did not. That proclamation was written to help the North win the Civil War, and it did.

Two years later, in Jan of 1865, when it became apparent that the North would win the Civil War, Lincoln put a new proclamation in front of the Senate. This proclamation freed all slaves. After many arguments and debates over States Rights, it was put into law, and added to the U.S. Constitution as the 13th Amendment. That Amendment ended  246 years of human misery, from the first slaves arrival in the American colonies in 1619 until the 13th Amendment in 1865. The fight for African-American equality was not over, but this was a huge step!

The 13th Amendment states:

Article XIII

Section 1. 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.

Section 1. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

1867: The 14th Amendment - federal control over civil rights, citizenship, and the end of Black Codes that limited equality

1870: The 15th Amendment - right to vote shall not be denied by color, race, or previous condition of servitude (men only, African American men included). Women did not receive the right to vote until the 19th Amendment in 1919

Other Amendments to the Constitution

Emancipation Proclamation 1863

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