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Lincoln and Kneeling Slave, Thomas Bell
Date Issued: 1940-10-20
Postage Value: 3 cents

Commemorative issue
13th Amendment 75th anniversary
Lincoln and Kneeling Slave, Thomas Bell

The 13th Amendment provides that "neither slavery nor involuntary servitude" shall exist in the United States. Congress is given the power to enforce this article through legislation. The amendment had been preceded by a federal restriction on the importation of slaves in 1808, by Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, and by various legislative bans against slavery in many of the states prior to 1865.

The 13th Amendment was the first unconditional constitutional action to terminate slavery, and the first of the amendments to the U.S. Constitution to protect the equal status of African Americans. More recent interpretations of the 13th Amendment by the U.S. Supreme Court include prohibition of public or private racial discrimination in the disposal of property, private employment, and in making and enforcing contracts.

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