Lincoln urged Thirteenth Amendment

December 6, 1864

In his annual message to Congress, President Lincoln urged passage of Thirteenth Amendment to abolish slavery in the United States. The Emancipation Proclamation had freed only those slaves in states still at war. The permanent emancipation of all slaves required a constitutional amendment. In April 1864, the Senate passed the Thirteenth Amendment to abolish slavery in the United States. Opposition from Democratic congressmen prevented the amendment from receiving the required two-thirds majority in the House. Only after Lincoln was reelected did Congress approve the amendment. Ratification by the states was completed in December 1865.

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