Did you know that on today’s date in history, December 18, 1865, it was officially announced that the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified? Unlike the Emancipation Proclamation which only declared slaves free in the southern states that had seceded from the Union, the Thirteenth Amendment finally abolished slavery in the United States.
By this time, many states throughout the north had abolished slavery within their borders. The Thirteenth Amendment, however guaranteed that those laws could not be reversed in the future. It also guaranteed that new territories gaining statehood could not allow slavery to exist. It was a pivotal day in history.
To show your students a copy of the Thirteenth Amendment, visit the National Archives. Search for the Thirteenth Amendment in the search field on the site.