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The Slave Experience: Freedom & Emancipation
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Original Documents Freedom & Emancipation

The U.S. Constitution, Thirteenth Amendment
Ratified 1865
Courtesy of National Archives, Washington, DC

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Photo of the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
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Document Description
Unlike the limited Emancipation Proclamation, the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution declared freedom for all persons in the country by declaring slavery illegal. Its passage marked the end of Civil War and a new era for the re-unified nation.

Section 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.

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

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