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S.R. 16, 38th Congress

This Senate resolution became the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery in the United States or any place subject to its jurisdiction and gave Congress the power to pass legislation necessary to enforce the amendment. Submitted to the states on January 31, 1865, its ratification was completed within the year, on December 6, 1865.

Records of the U.S. Senate, National Archives and Records Administration

S.R. 16, 38th Congress

Abolishing Slavery - 2

The issue of slavery was not directly addressed by the authors of the Constitution, but quickly proved to be the most divisive one Congress faced. Petitions against slavery were received as early as the First Congress. As settlers moved west, the question of slavery in the territories periodically dominated Congressional debate. At the close of the Civil War, Congress passed an amendment to abolish slavery, which was quickly ratified by the states.