13th Amendment

Abolition of Slavery

Passed by Congress January 31, 1865. Ratified December 6, 1865. The 13th Amendment changed a portion of Article IV, Section 2

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.

Read Interpretations of the 13th Amendment

More about 13th Amendment

The Drafting Table

Explore key historical documents that inspired the Framers of the Constitution and each amendment during the drafting process, the early drafts and major proposals behind each provision, and discover how the drafters deliberated, agreed and disagreed, on the path to compromise and the final text.

In the Classroom

Teach the Constitution in your classroom with nonpartisan resources including videos, lesson plans, podcasts, and more. Check out our classroom resources organized by each article or amendment, and by key constitutional questions.

Media Library: 13th Amendment

Blog Post

The Emancipation Proclamation’s other anniversary

President Abraham Lincoln altered the course of the Civil War and American society when the Emancipation Proclamation was issued…

Sep 22

Educational Video

Dred Scott v. Sandford

The 1857 Supreme Court case Dred Scott v. Sandford inflamed sectional tensions over slavery and propelled the United States toward…

More from the National Constitution Center

Carry the Constitution in Your Pocket! Download the App

The Interactive Constitution is available as a free app on your mobile device.

Visit the National Constitution Center

Find out about upcoming programs, exhibits, and educational initiatives on the National Constitution Center’s website.

Support the Interactive Constitution

The National Constitution is a private nonprofit. Please support our educational mission of increasing awareness and understanding of the U.S. Constitution.