President Obama 150th anniversary 13th Amendment min 1

 

 

Amid all the hubbub over irrational public slaughter and equally irrational responses thereto, there was in Washington, D.C. a little noted, rare moment of dignified, bipartisan unity the second week of December, 2015. The occasion was the 150th Anniversary of the Ratification of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.

 

After the Civil War ended, in an effort to convert former human chattel into proper citizens of the U.S., three amendments to the Constitution were effected: the 13th, 14th and 15th. Well aware that his proclamation of emancipation abolished slavery only in the Southern and Border States that continued to fight against the Union, President Abraham Lincoln furiously pushed for a constitutional amendment that, for all time, would prohibit slavery in the U.S. John Wilkes Booth managed to put his heinous mark upon history in April 1865. In February of that year – although it was not necessary – Lincoln signed the congressional joint resolution for the 13th Amendment. It was ratified in December of 1865.

 

Lincoln must have assumed that a one-time severing of the chains of bondage would be sufficient to ensure the functioning of a free people within a constitutional society. Boy, was he wrong! The abominable treatment of the former bonds-folk was such that it required two additional amendments.

 

Lincolns signs 13th Amendment

 

The 14th Amendment (at least on paper), granted full U.S. citizenship to all freed people. The 15th Amendment (also, at least on paper), granted full voting rights to all free, male citizens. Women of all races had to wait another 50 years. Despite these 3 amendments to the Constitution, based upon the ideal that all humans are created free and equal, it would take another 100 years for the Supreme Court and Congress to further substantiate those noble sentiments.

 

Here we are, in the 15th year of the new millennium. Even as we continue to attempt to overcome the historically glaring error of the Founders of this constitutional government, there was a quiet moment of reflection. The leaders of both parties, of both houses of congress, along with the president of the U.S., solemnly met in a newly constructed area of the capitol that is dedicated to the ending of one of the most shameful chapters in our history. Encouragingly, in a single voice, they all recognized that failing and the further need to improve thereupon.

 

See the president's speech for a concise overview of that history – which includes his undisguised, verbal backhand to Trump's latest bump.

 

 

***** ***** *****

They found a new place – it was grand.

They searched for a strong, helping hand.

They got their own way;

No wages to pay.

Since then, there's been hell in the land!

 

 

Curtis W. Long

Curtis W. Long

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