The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution officially outlaws slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime. It was passed by the Senate on April 8, 1864, by the House on January 31, 1865, and adopted on December 6, 1865. On December 18, Secretary of State William H. Seward proclaimed it to have been adopted. It was the first of the three Reconstruction Amendments adopted after the American Civil War. President Lincoln and other Republicans were concerned that the Emancipation Proclamation, which in 1863 declared the freedom of slaves in ten Confederate states then in rebellion, would be seen as a temporary war measure, since it was solely based on Lincoln's war powers. The Proclamation did not free any slaves in the border states nor itself make slavery illegal. The first 12 amendments were adopted within 15 years of the original Constitutions adoption.
Contributions by Malangthon, Mateo SA, and 220.127.116.11.