National Constitution CenterCenturies of Citizenship: A Constitutional Timeline Exhibit
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1850-1865: We are a house divided, a nation torn by bloody civil war

March 4, 1865
We have changed our views on war - and slavery

Frederick Douglass

Four years ago, President Lincoln and Congress told us this war was not about freeing the slaves, but saving the Union. They had no plans to “interfere” with slavery where it existed.

The war has changed us.

In January, Congress passed a constitutional amendment banning slavery altogether.

This morning, Lincoln took on a second term. Addressing the sea of faces—half of them black—he called slavery an “offense” for which God has given “to both North and South, this terrible war.”

Later, he asked black antislavery leader Frederick Douglass what he thought. Said Douglass, “That was a sacred effort.”

Read about it in the New York times

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