Missouri Senator drafts what would become 13th Amendment 160 years ago today

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ST. LOUIS – On this day 160 years ago, Missouri Senator John Brooks Henderson introduced what would become the 13th Amendment of the constitution, abolishing slavery.

It said, “Slavery or involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime, shall not exist in the United States.” The final draft was approved by the Senate three months later.

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It wouldn’t pass the house until January 1865. Illinois was the first state to ratify the 13th Amendment, followed by Missouri a week later.

On December 18, 1865, the U.S. as a whole ratified the 13th Amendment, and slavery was constitutionally abolished.


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