Today Is National Freedom Day

The central document of the U.S. government, the Constitution, does not require the approval of the president in order to be amended. One amendment, however, was signed by a president: the thirteenth amendment. Signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1865, it officially made slavery illegal in the U.S. While the well-known Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves living in the Confederate states, the Thirteenth Amendment formally and permanently made the practice against the law of the land across the nation.

The Thirteenth Amendment was ratified on December 6, 1865, when Georgia became the 27th state to approve it out of the then-total 36 states. Iowa was the 31st state, voting for ratification on January 15, 1866. The document shown here is the joint resolution passed by Iowa’s House and Senate and printed on March 30. It lists the names of all the Iowa legislators in the general assembly who voted for ratification, and includes a few small engravings depicting allegorical symbols of liberty and other patriotic images. (Source:

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