1865 13th Amendment Passed




On December 18th 1865, the13th Amendment to the Constitution was officially ratified. This Amendment stated that neither slavery nor involuntary servitude could exist in the United States.

The 13th amendment stated:


  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."
  2. "Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation."

Legislative Process:

  • The Senate passed the amendment on April 8, 1864, with a vote of 38 to 6.
  • The House of Representatives initially resisted the amendment but later passed it on January 31, 1865, with a vote of 119 to 56.


  • After passing both houses of Congress, the 13th Amendment was sent to the state legislatures for ratification.
  • On December 6, 1865, the amendment was officially ratified when Georgia became the 27th state to approve it, ensuring the necessary three-fourths majority of state ratification.
  • Secretary of State William H. Seward proclaimed its adoption on December 18, 1865.

With its ratification, slavery was constitutionally abolished in the United States, with exceptions noted for those convicted of a crime. The 13th Amendment became the first of the three Reconstruction Amendments, followed by the 14th and 15th Amendments, which aimed to establish equal rights for all Americans, regardless of race or previous condition of servitude.