The Thirteenth Amendment
On February 1, 1865 Lincoln’s home state of Illinois became the first to ratify the Thirteenth Amendment abolishing slavery throughout the United States. President Abraham Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation two years earlier, but it had not effectively abolished slavery in all of the states–it did not apply to slave-holding border states that had remained with the Union during the Civil War. After the war, the sentiment about blacks was mixed even among anti-slavery Americans: some considered Lincoln’s address too conservative and pushed for black suffrage, arguing that blacks would remain oppressed by their former owners if they did not have the power to vote. After the amendment was passed, the Freedmen’s Bureau was created to help blacks with the problems they would encounter while trying to acquire jobs, education and land of their own.
Image: Library of Congress