December 6 - 1865 - The Thirteenth Amendment is Ratified
Durig the Civil War, the Union shifted its aim from a war for Union to a war that would end slavery and reunite the Union. The key act which marked this change was the Emancipation Proclamation, but it only freed slaves in rebel territory. Worse, it was a war measure that had little effect after the war would end. By 1864, the idea became clear that what was needed was a Constitutional amendment, not only for its permanence but also to override the laws that enabled slavery. The text of the Amendment was quite simple, and it easily passed the Senate with the necessary two-thirds majority. After a large legislative battle in the House of Representatives, the Amendment would go to the states. Between that moment and its ratification less than a year later, Abraham Lincoln would be assassinated, the Confederacy would surrender, and the former slave states had to ratify the amendment.