James Ford Rhodes (1848–1927). History of the Civil War, 1861–1865. 1917.

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  the previous session but it had failed to secure the requisite two-thirds vote in the House. It was still the same House of Representatives but the President pointed out that the voice of the people as manifested in the national election was for the amendment and that the House, which should come into being on March 4, 1865, would certainly pass it: therefore, as it is certain to go to the States for their action, “may we not agree that the sooner the better.” He recommended the reconsideration and passage of the amendment. 1 On January 31, 1865, his ardent wish was gratified. When the Speaker announced that the constitutional majority of two-thirds had voted in the affirmative, there was great enthusiasm. “In honor of the immortal and sublime event,” the House adjourned. 2 This amendment, which is now known as the Thirteenth, was in due time ratified by three-fourths of the States. To contrast the amendment, which Congress intended in March, 1861, to have numbered XIII, with the existing addition to our organic act is to comprehend the mighty revolution of four years. That of 1861 reads: “No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere within any State with the domestic institutions thereof including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State.” That of 1865, which is a part of our Constitution: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude … shall exist within the United States or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”  20     The South was approaching exhaustion. Sherman’s march through Georgia and Hood’s defeat at Nashville had bred a feeling of despondency far and wide. Lee called attention to the “alarming frequency of desertions” from
Note 1. Lincoln, C. W., II, 613. [back]
Note 2. Globe, 531. [back]