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13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: Primary Documents in American History

Ratified in 1865, the 13th Amendment abolished slavery in the United States. This guide provides access to digital collections at the Library of Congress, external websites, and print materials related to the amendment.

Introduction

The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution declared that "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." Formally abolishing slavery in the United States, the 13th Amendment was passed by Congress on January 31, 1865, and ratified by the states on December 6, 1865.