//
you're reading...
Daily History

December 18, 1865 – Slavery abolished in America with adoption of 13th Amendment


Emancipation

Emancipation

Following its ratification by the requisite three-quarters of the states earlier in the month, the 13th Amendment is formally adopted into the U.S. Constitution, ensuring that “neither slavery nor involuntary servitude… shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

Before the American Civil War, Abraham Lincoln and other leaders of the anti-slavery Republican Party sought not to abolish slavery but merely to stop its extension into new territories and states in the American West.

This policy was unacceptable to most Southern politicians, who believed that the growth of free states would turn the U.S. power structure irrevocably against them.

In November 1860, Lincoln’s election as president signaled the secession of seven Southern states and the formation of the Confederate States of America.

Shortly after his inauguration in 1861, the Civil War began. Four more Southern states joined the Confederacy, while four border slave states in the upper South remained in the Union.

Lincoln, though he privately detested slavery, responded cautiously to the call by abolitionists for emancipation of all enslaved Americans after the outbreak of the Civil War.

As the war dragged on, however, the Republican-dominated federal government began to realize the strategic advantages of emancipation: The liberation of enslaved people would weaken the Confederacy by depriving it of a major portion of its labor force, which would in turn strengthen the Union by producing an influx of manpower.

With 11 Southern states seceded from the Union, there were few pro-slavery congressmen to stand in the way of such an action.

In 1862, Congress annulled the fugitive slave laws, prohibited slavery in the U.S. territories, and authorized Lincoln to employ formerly enslaved people in the army. Following the major Union victory at the Battle of Antietam in September, Lincoln issued a warning of his intent to issue an emancipation proclamation for all states still in rebellion on New Year’s Day.

That day—January 1, 1863—President Lincoln formally issued the Emancipation Proclamation, calling on the Union army to liberate all enslaved people in states still in rebellion as “an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution, upon military necessity.”

These three million enslaved people were declared to be “then, thenceforward, and forever free.” The proclamation exempted the border states that remained in the Union and all or parts of three Confederate states controlled by the Union army.

The Emancipation Proclamation transformed the Civil War from a war against secession into a war for “a new birth of freedom,” as Lincoln stated in his Gettysburg Address in 1863. This ideological change discouraged the intervention of France or England on the Confederacy’s behalf and enabled the Union to enlist the 180,000 African American soldiers and sailors who volunteered to fight between January 1, 1863, and the conclusion of the war.

As the Confederacy staggered toward defeat, Lincoln realized that the Emancipation Proclamation, a war measure, might have little constitutional authority once the war was over. The Republican Party subsequently introduced the 13th Amendment into Congress, and in April 1864 the necessary two-thirds of the overwhelmingly Republican Senate passed the amendment.

However, the House of Representatives, featuring a higher proportion of Democrats, did not pass the amendment by a two-thirds majority until January 1865, three months before Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox.

On December 2, 1865, Alabama became the 27th state to ratify the 13th Amendment, thus giving it the requisite three-fourths majority of states’ approval necessary to make it the law of the land. Alabama, a former Confederate state, was forced to ratify the amendment as a condition for re-admission into the Union. On December 18, the 13th Amendment was officially adopted into the Constitution—246 years after the first shipload of captive Africans landed at Jamestown, Virginia, and were bought as enslaved workers.

Slavery’s legacy and efforts to overcome it remain a central issue in U.S. politics, particularly during the post-Civil War Reconstruction era and the African American civil rights movement of the 1950s and ’60s.

About Craig Hill

Teacher and Writer. Writing has been cited in New York Times, BBC, Fox News, Aljazeera, Philippines Star, South China Morning Post, National Interest, news.com.au, Wikipedia and others.

Discussion

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

If you liked what you just read, click "Subscribe" to become a follower of the Craig Hill site. You will receive an email each time a new post is published.

Join 14,817 other followers

An archive of all my old posts

Follow me on Twitter

Most Recent Posts Post on My Blog About China: China News

US-China rivalry rooted in lost trust

US-China rivalry rooted in lost trust

As early as 2005 John Gersham and Melvin Goodman alerted against the trend of an over-militarized US foreign policy. The warning has been a recurrent theme of American debate, although it gained little traction. The debate recently spilled into mainstream media with The Economist averring that “an over-militarized foreign policy that embraces unrealistic objectives is liable to fail.” […]

Overnight News Headlines (Australia): July 20, 2021

Overnight News Headlines (Australia): July 20, 2021

Originally posted on Craig Hill:
Children account for 15 per cent of Australian farm deaths, says AgHealth study – 15 per cent of farm deaths are children under 14 years old, according to an AgHealth Australia study; A Ballarat farmer says she is shocked almost one in six … Australia’s first body image program for…

China in the News: July 20, 2021

China in the News: July 20, 2021

Ford unveils lower-priced Mustang Mach-E in China to qualify for subsidies – Previously, this was the only Mach-E priced low enough to qualify for China’s EV subsidies. It was joined by Extended Range RWD and AWD versions as well as the … NZ in ‘position of vulnerability’ over China hacking accusations – New Zealand has […]

Cadence Column: Asia, July 19, 2021

Cadence Column: Asia, July 19, 2021

China faces a three-pronged attack in the realm of public opinion. The Olympics converge with COVID; the third is three levelings up in Chinese military aggression. COVID is seen in the public eye as having mainly originated from China. Even with conspiracy theories surrounding Fauci and Gates, no explanation lets China off the hook. That […]

Overnight News Headlines (Australia): July 19, 2021

Overnight News Headlines (Australia): July 19, 2021

Originally posted on Craig Hill:
Race on for Australian rare earth supplies as fears grow over China’s market ‘monopoly’ – It comes two years after David Gainer, the US Consul General to Perth, visited a rare earths mine near Laverton in outback Western Australia just days into the … Swim league to be launched in…

China in the News: July 19, 2021

China in the News: July 19, 2021

First human death due to monkey B virus reported in China – Patients of rare viral infections transmitted from the monkey have been reported in China and the U.S. in succession. According to China’s state-run Global … Commentary: A pity China can’t seem to ditch its wolf warrior diplomacy – Despite recent exhortations from President […]

The Nuclear Future of East Asia

The Nuclear Future of East Asia

In the face of North Korea and China’s continuous expansion and advancement in their nuclear arsenal in the past decade, the nuclear question for East Asian countries is now more urgent than ever—especially when U.S.’s credibility of extended deterrence has been shrinking since the post-cold war era. Whether to acquire independent nuclear deterrent has long […]

Overnight News Headlines (Australia): July 18, 2021

Overnight News Headlines (Australia): July 18, 2021

Originally posted on Craig Hill:
New study reveals history of Aboriginal trade with foreign visitors before British settlement – They are markers of an annual Asian occupation of the northernmost tip of Western Australia that remains a mystery. “This is an unknown part of Australian … Lolesio kicks 14-man Australia to win to seal series…

China in the News: July 18, 2021

China in the News: July 18, 2021

China threat: Australia detects two Chinese spy ships ahead of a major US missile launch on Sunday – AUSTRALIA has detected “unusual” spy activity from Beijing after a second high-tech Chinese military ship was spotted approaching the Queensland coast ahead … Chinese in S. Korean entertainment industry face backlash – Some Chinese K-pop stars deemed […]

China targets overthrow of global order as expert warns of ‘brutal authoritarianism’ rise

China targets overthrow of global order as expert warns of ‘brutal authoritarianism’ rise

CHINA has set out to overthrow the global liberal system in favour of a more compatible “authoritarian” order, a former CIA officer has stated. The Chinese leadership has set out to replace the international rules bases order, a former US intelligence analyst has warned.  Nicholas Eftimiades, an expert on China, has warned that Xi Jinping‘s regime believes […]

%d bloggers like this: