The 13th amendment to the United States constitution formally abolished slavery, in 1865. This amendment reads “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.” This amendment finished the unfulfilled role of the Emancipation Proclamation issued in 1863. This document informally declared all slaves free, but not guarantee that they were indeed free.

It is very important to understand the 13th amendment to be a guarantor of future Americans civil rights. The 13th amendment was later followed by the 14th and 15th amendments, which are also recognized as Civil War amendments. It is important to understand the process this and how long it took for this to formal freedom of slaves to become an amendment. In 1864, the Senate passed the amendment, but the House declined. It was then reintroduced into the House and passed with a vote of 119 to 56.