Mississippi Frees Its Slaves

Mississippi Slavery License Plate   -    http://mariopiperni.com/

The Thirteenth  Amendment of the United States reads as follows:

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.

After passing the Senate (1864) and House (1865), the amendment was sent off to all 36 states of the union for ratification. Georgia became the 27th state to ratify the amendment and on December 6 1865, the Thirteenth Amendment was adopted. Slavery was outlawed. Yeah!

But the story did not end there.

After watching Steven Spielberg’s film Lincoln, a professor at the University of Mississippi and his colleague decided to look into the matter. Here’s what they discovered.

Mississippi was one of four states that rejected ratification of the 13th amendment, along with New Jersey, Delaware, and Kentucky. The amendment passed without Mississippi’s support anyway, and all the other no-voting states symbolically ratified the amendment in the following years. New Jersey was quick, ratifying in 1866. Delaware had resolved the matter by 1901. Kentucky took a little longer, waiting until 1976. Mississippi lawmakers finally got around to it in 1995.

But it doesn’t appear to have been a huge priority, because the ratification was never sent to the Office of the Federal Register, which means it wasn’t official.


No worries. The Mississippi Secretary of State was contacted and the paperwork was finally done this month to make ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment official.

With that out of the way, word is out that Mississippi will now get around to surrendering to the union later this month.


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6 thoughts on “Mississippi Frees Its Slaves

  1. The state motto of Tennessee is “Thank God for Mississippi.” They make even some of the bumbling decisions made by our legislators look almost intelligent by comparison.

  2. The Constitution only requires that 3/4 of the states ratify an amendment for it to become law.Mississippi’s
    approval was not necessary and the state of Miss has been bound by the 13th amendment since
    1865 . Since nobody in Mississippi went to court to try and repeal the 13th amendment, it is safe to assume
    that the delayed ratification was some kind of administrative error.

  3. Sorry Art but the original post said, “…But it doesn’t appear to have been a huge priority, because the ratification was never sent to the Office of the Federal Register, which means it wasn’t official.”

    Clerical error? Administrative error? Was it purposely not sent? What would you call it?

  4. .During reconstruction, the South was fighting all the changes imposed by the Union victory.
    This was likely an act of passive resistance, but we’ll never know for sure.

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