Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 8.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.

Resolution Submitting the Thirteenth Amendment to the States [1]

February 1, 1865

Thirty-Eighth Congress of the United States of America; At the second Session, Begun and held at the City of Washington, on Monday, the fifth day of December, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-four.


Submitting to the legislatures of the several States a proposition to amend the Constitution of the United States.

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, (two-thirds of both houses concurring), That the following article be proposed to the legislatures of the several States as an amendment to the constitution of the United States, which, when ratified by three-fourths of said Legislatures, shall be valid, to all intents and purposes, as a part of the said Constitution, namely: Article XIII. 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.


Speaker of the House of Representatives.


Vice President of the United States, and President of the Senate.

Approved, February 1. 1865. ABRAHAM LINCOLN


[1]   DS, DNA FS RG 11, Department of State. This printed form with blanks filled in by a clerk is the original resolution approved by Lincoln. Printed portionsPage  254

are reproduced in italics. Engrossed copies bearing the signatures not only of Colfax, Hamlin, and Lincoln, but also of members of the Senate and House of Representatives, are in IHi and ORB. Presumably other signed copies may be in existence. Lincoln's approval of this resolution, although signed in accordance with his usual practice in approving resolutions and acts of congress, was unnecessary in the case of an amendment to the constitution. On February 7 the Senate passed a resolution declaring that ``such approval was unnecessary,'' since the Supreme Court had decided in a case arising in 1798 that the president ``has nothing to do with the proposition or adoption of amendments to the Constitution'' (Remarks of Senator Trumbull, Congressional Globe, February 7, 1865, pp. 629-30). For an account of the adoption of the resolution, see Nicolay and Hay, Abraham Lincoln: A History, X, 72-90.