13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
Philadelphia: S. Bott, 1865.
Prints and Photographs Division.
The 13th Amendment to the Constitution declared that “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.” Formally abolishing slavery in the United States, the 13th Amendment was passed by the Congress on January 31, 1865, and ratified by the states on December 6, 1865.
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American Memory Historical Collections
Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress
John Nicolay sent Lincoln a telegram reporting passage of the 13th Amendment by Congress on January 31, 1865.
Search the Abraham Lincoln Papers using the phrase “13th amendment” to locate additional documents on this topic, including a copy of the 13th Amendment submitted to the states that was signed by Abraham Lincoln and members of Congress.
The Alfred Whital Stern Collection of Lincolniana
This collection documents the life of Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) both through writings by and about Lincoln as well as a large body of publications concerning the issues of the times including slavery, the Civil War, Reconstruction, and related topics.
Search this collection to find a number of items related to the abolition of slavery, including a copy of the 13th Amendment.
A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation
This collection contains congressional publications from 1774 to 1875, including debates, bills, laws, and journals.
April 8, 1864 - The Senate passed the 13th Amendment (S.J. Res. 16) by a vote of 38 to 6.
June 15, 1864 - The House of Representatives initially defeated the 13th Amendment (S.J. Res. 16) by a vote of 93 in favor, 65 opposed, and 23 not voting, which is less than the two-thirds majority needed to pass a Constitutional Amendment.
January 31, 1865 - The House of Representatives passed the 13th Amendment (S.J. Res. 16) by a vote of 119 to 56.
February 1, 1865 - President Abraham Lincoln signed a Joint Resolution submitting the proposed 13th Amendment to the states.
December 18, 1865 - Secretary of State William Seward issued a statement verifying the ratification of the 13th Amendment.
Search in the 38th Congress to find additional information on the 13th Amendment.
From Slavery to Freedom: The African-American Pamphlet Collection, 1822-1909
Includes speeches by T.B. Van Buren and Gen. Hiram Walbridge given during the ratification process of the 13th Amendment in the New York House of Assembly. Also found within this collection is a report issued by the Union League Club of New York recommending the approval of the 13th Amendment.
The Nineteenth Century in Print
Contains an article written by John Hay and John Nicolay, Lincoln’s private secretaries, that discusses the history of the 13th Amendment. Also includes an article in the Continental Monthly that examines the initial rejection of the 13th Amendment by the House of Representatives in 1864.
Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers
This site allows you to search and view millions of historic American newspaper pages from 1836 to 1922. Search this collection to find newspaper articles about the 13th Amendment.
A selection of articles on the 13th Amendment includes:
"Freedom Triumphant," New-York Daily Tribune. (New York, NY), February 1, 1865.
“Glory to God! The Constitutional Amendment Passed the House by a Vote of 119 to 56,” Fremont Journal. (Fremont, OH), February 3, 1865.
“The Constitutional Amendment,” The Daily Phoenix. (Columbia, SC), December 14, 1865.
“The Official Announcement of the Adoption of the Constitutional Amendment—Opinions of the Leading Press,” Daily National Republican. (Washington, D.C.), December 21, 1865.
The African-American Mosaic
This exhibit marks the publication of The African-American Mosaic: A Library of Congress Resource Guide for the Study of Black History and Culture. This exhibit is a sampler of the kinds of materials and themes covered by this publication. Includes a section on the abolition movement and the end of slavery.
African American Odyssey: A Quest for Full Citizenship
This exhibition showcases the African American collections of the Library of Congress. Displays more than 240 items, including books, government documents, manuscripts, maps, musical scores, plays, films, and recordings. Includes a brochure from an exhibit at the Library of Congress to mark the 75th Anniversary of the 13th Amendment.
American Treasures of the Library of Congress: Abolition of Slavery
An online exhibit of the engrossed copy of the 13th Amendment as signed by Abraham Lincoln and members of Congress.