|Posted by Gilbert Stack on December 6, 2018 at 5:05 AM|
On this day (December 6) in 1865, the Thirteenth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution was ratified banning slavery. It was a critical, although incomplete, step in guaranteeing all Americans their civil rights. Lincoln pushed hard to have it ratified in the last days of his life out of fear that without a constitutional amendment, slavery would return once the southern states were accepted back into the union.
Unfortunately, there was no consensus regarding how to help the now ex-slaves transition to life as free peoples and even less support for compensating the ex-slaves for their unjustly coerced labor. William Tecumseh Sherman’s “40 acres and a mule” would have gone a long way toward helping the newly freed Americans start their lives fresh and lifting them out of poverty. It also wouldn’t have cost the nation very much as it had a lot of land at its disposal. Instead, the ex-slaves were pretty much left to fend for themselves.
Categories: Today in History