Thirteenth Amendment (Great Events from History: North American Series)
Article abstract: The first of the Civil War amendments states that “neither slavery nor involuntary servitude . . . shall exist within the United States.”
Summary of Event
The antislavery and abolition movements did not begin with the Civil War. As early as 1652, the state of Rhode Island passed antislavery legislation. In 1773, Benjamin Franklin and Dr. Benjamin Rush formed the first abolition society in America. In 1832, the New England Anti-Slavery Society was formed by newspaper editor William Lloyd Garrison, who also helped found the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1833. The Society of Friends, or Quakers, a religious group who settled early in the history of the United States, were very active in the antislavery movement. Their religion forbade the holding of slaves. Quakers primarily settled in the northern part of the country.
In 1807, federal legislation was passed outlawing the importation of slaves after January 1, 1808. However, this did not end the use of slaves in the United States. The writers of the Constitution could not resolve the issue of slavery in America, and so had declared that the slave trade could end by 1808 or anytime later. Eventually, the inability of national leaders to resolve this issue would divide the nation. The Missouri Compromise of 1820 banned slavery in most of the western states and territories. This was overturned by the Supreme Court in 1857, in the famous...
(The entire section is 1400 words.)
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Thirteenth Amendment (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
The Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads:
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 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
The Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution were approved by Congress and ratified by the states after the U.S. CIVIL WAR. Known collectively as the Civil War Amendments, they were designed to protect individual rights. The Thirteenth Amendment forbids INVOLUNTARY SERVITUDE or SLAVERY, except where the condition is imposed on an individual as punishment for a crime.
For many decades, however, the goals of the Civil War Amendments were frustrated. Due perhaps to the waning public support for postwar Reconstruction and the nation's lack of sensitivity to individual rights, the U.S. Supreme Court severely curtailed the application of the amendments. The Supreme Court thwarted the amendments in two ways: by restrictively interpreting the substantive provisions of the amendments and by rigidly confining Congress's enforcement power....
(The entire section is 1572 words.)