Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution

Abolitionist imagery focused on atrocities against slaves. (Photo of Gordon, 1863.)
Abraham Lincoln
Representative James Mitchell Ashley proposed an amendment abolishing slavery in 1863.
Celebration erupts after the Thirteenth Amendment is passed by the House of Representatives.
Amendment XIII in the National Archives, bearing the signature of Abraham Lincoln
John Marshall Harlan became known as "The Great Dissenter" for his minority opinions favoring powerful Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments.

The Thirteenth Amendment (Amendment XIII) to the United States Constitution abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime.

- Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution

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John B. Henderson

John B. Henderson in his elder years.

John Brooks Henderson (November 16, 1826 – April 12, 1913) was a United States senator from Missouri and a co-author of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

George H. Pendleton

American politician and lawyer.

Currier and Ives print of the Democratic presidential party ticket, 1864. Lithograph with watercolor.
Pendleton in his later years.
Alice Key Pendleton, sculpted by Hiram Powers

After the war, he opposed the Thirteenth Amendment and the Civil Rights Act of 1866.

Charles Sumner

American statesman and United States Senator from Massachusetts.

Birthplace, Irving Street, Beacon Hill, Boston
An 1842 bust of Charles Sumner by Thomas Crawford
Sumner ca. 1850
Lithograph of Preston Brooks' 1856 attack on Sumner; the artist depicts the faceless assailant bludgeoning the learned martyr
The walking cane used to attack Charles Sumner on exhibit at the Old State House in Boston
1860 steel-engraved portrait of Sumner
Senator Sumner and his friend Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, photograph by Gardner, 1863
Sumner ca. 1865, by Brady
Sumner puts head in British lion's mouth—Harper's Weekly, 1872
President Ulysses S. Grant The Dominican Republic annexation treaty caused bitter contention between President Grant and Sen. Sumner. —Brady 1869
Sumner in later years
Death of Sumner
Charles Sumner House, Boston
Statue by Anne Whitney in Harvard Square

He was largely excluded from work on the Thirteenth Amendment, in part because he did not get along with Illinois Senator Lyman Trumbull, who chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee and did much of the work on it.

Free Soil Party

Short-lived coalition political party in the United States active from 1848 to 1854, when it merged into the Republican Party.

Martin Van Buren/Charles Francis Adams campaign banner
James G. Birney was the two-time presidential nominee of the Liberty Party, a forerunner of the Free Soil Party.
Free Soilers sought to exclude slavery from the Mexican Cession (red), which was acquired from Mexico in the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.
The party nominated former President Martin Van Buren for president in the 1848 presidential election
1848 cartoon for Van Buren
Salmon P. Chase of Ohio was one of the most prominent leaders of the Free Soil Party
In this 1850 political cartoon, the artist attacks abolitionist, Free Soil and other sectionalist interests of 1850 as dangers to the Union
After the passage of the Kansas–Nebraska Act in 1854, Free Soilers joined with other groups to form the Republican Party, which nominated political neophyte John C. Frémont for president in 1856.
Free Soil performance in the 1848 election; darker shades of green indicate greater support
Frederick Douglass served as the secretary of the 1852 Free Soil National Convention

In 1865, the Civil War came to an end with the surrender of the Confederacy, and the United States abolished slavery nationwide by ratifying the Thirteenth Amendment.

Conscription in the United States

Conscription in the United States, commonly known as the draft, has been employed by the federal government of the United States in six conflicts: the American Revolutionary War, the American Civil War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.

Young men registering for conscription during World War I in New York City, New York, on June 5, 1917.
Rioters attacking a building during the New York anti-draft riots of 1863
World War I era draft card belonging to writer Stoddard King
Secretary of War Newton Baker draws the first draft number on July 20, 1917.
World War II era draft card belonging to musician Huddie Ledbetter, better known as Lead Belly
President Gerald Ford announces amnesty for draft evaders at the White House, Washington, D.C., in 1974.
Young men burn their draft cards in New York City on April 15, 1967, at Sheep Meadow, Central Park.
Jeffrey Mellinger in 1972; Mellinger was the last drafted U.S. NCO to remain in the army before retiring in 2011.
Jeffrey Mellinger in 2005

In 1917, a number of radicals and anarchists, including Emma Goldman, tried to challenge the new draft law in federal court, arguing that it was a direct violation of the Thirteenth Amendment's prohibition against slavery and involuntary servitude.

Convict leasing

System of forced penal labor which was historically practiced in the Southern United States and overwhelmingly involved African-American men.

Convicts leased to harvest timber circa 1915, in Florida
Laboring convicts at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman in 1911. When Mississippi ended convict leasing in 1906, all prisoners were sent to Parchman.
Orphaned and "Criminal" Children. 1903

The constitutional basis for convict leasing is that the 1865 Thirteenth Amendment, while abolishing slavery and involuntary servitude generally, permits it as a punishment for crime.

John Marshall Harlan

American lawyer and politician who served as an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court from 1877 until his death in 1911.

The Supreme Court, headed by Melville Fuller, 1898; with Harlan in the front row, second from left
John Marshall Harlan
Harlan's gravesite

Harlan also opposed ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment, attacking it as a "direct interference, by a portion of the states, with the local concerns of other states."

Constitution of the United States

Supreme law of the United States of America.

Page one of the officially engrossed copy of the Constitution signed by delegates. A print run of 500 copies of the final version preceded this copy.
Signing of the Constitution, September 17, 1787 (1940 by Howard Chandler Christy)
Dates the 13 states ratified the Constitution
"We the People" in an original edition
Closing endorsement section of the United States Constitution
United States Bill of Rights
Currently housed in the National Archives.
John Jay, 1789–1795
John Marshall, 1801–1835
Salmon P. Chase {{refn|group= lower-alpha|The Chase Court, 1864–1873, in 1865 were Salmon P. Chase (chief Justice); Hon. Nathan Clifford, Maine; Stephen J. Field, Justice Supreme Court, U.S.; Hon. Samuel F. Miller, U.S. Supreme Court; Hon. Noah H. Swayne, Justice Supreme Court, U.S.; Judge Morrison R. Waite}}
William Howard Taft {{refn|group= lower-alpha|The Taft Court, 1921–1930, in 1925 were James Clark McReynolds, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., William Howard Taft (chief justice), Willis Van Devanter, Louis Brandeis. Edward Sanford, George Sutherland, Pierce Butler, Harlan Fiske Stone}}
Earl Warren {{refn|group= lower-alpha|The Warren Court, 1953–1969, in 1963 were Felix Frankfurter; Hugo Black; Earl Warren (chief justice); Stanley Reed; William O. Douglas. Tom Clark; Robert H. Jackson; Harold Burton; Sherman Minton}}
William Rehnquist {{refn|group= lower-alpha|The Rehnquist Court, 1986–2005.}}
José Rizal
Sun Yat-sen

The Thirteenth Amendment (1865) abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime, and authorized Congress to enforce abolition.

Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution

Adopted on July 9, 1868, as one of the Reconstruction Amendments.

U.S. Senator from Michigan Jacob M. Howard, author of the Citizenship Clause
Rep. John Bingham of Ohio was the principal author of the Equal Protection Clause
Thurgood Marshall served as chief counsel in the landmark Fourteenth Amendment decision Brown v. Board of Education (1954).
Senate and House votes on the Fourteenth Amendment
Form of the Letter of Transmittal of the Fourteenth Amendment to the several states for its ratification

Individual liberties guaranteed by the United States Constitution, other than the Thirteenth Amendment's ban on slavery, protect not against actions by private persons or entities, but only against actions by government officials.

James Mitchell Ashley

American politician and abolitionist.

Photograph of Ashley

A member of the Republican Party, Ashley served as a member of the United States House of Representatives from Ohio during the American Civil War, where he became a leader of the Radical Republicans and pushed for passage of the Thirteenth Amendment, ending slavery in the United States.