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.