The Original 13th Amendment
Constitution for the United States of America
The AWARE Group
Learning Centre: Common Law, Constitution, Law, Sovereignty, US History

The Founders held an intense disdain and distrust of "Nobility" as a result of a long history, during Colonial times, of abuses and excesses against the Rights of Man and the established Common Law and Constitutions by the "Nobility", and therefore placed in the new Constitution two injunctions against acceptance of Titles of Nobility or Honor or emoluments from external sources. The Revolutionary War for Independence was primarily waged to eliminate these abuses and excesses of the "Nobility" and the "Monied Classes" from the life of the Nation, recognizing the Equality of all men. 

As there was no penalty attached to a title of nobility or honor in the Constitution as originally ratified, the Original Thirteenth Amendment was proposed in December of 1809 to institute penalty for accepting or using a "Title of Nobility or Honor" to set oneself apart from, or superior to, or possessing of any special privileges or immunities not available to any other citizen of the United States, and to eliminate the widespread use of "emoluments" as bribery and graft of the legislatures and judiciary used to further the causes and positions of "Special Interests". It was an attempt to keep politicians and civil servants "Honest" in their service to the citizens. 

As noted in the discussion 69 in Article 1 of the Constitution, the original Thirteenth Amendment, was ratified in 1819, adding a heavy penalty upon any person holding or accepting a Title of Nobility or Honor, or emoluments from external powers by making that person "cease to be a citizen of the United States" and "incapable of holding any Office of Trust or Profit under the United States". This Amendment was proposed, properly ratified, and was a matter of record in the several States archives until 1876, by which time it was quietly, and fraudulently deleted, never repealed, during the period of Reconstruction after the Civil War and the presently acknowledged Thirteenth Amendment was substituted. The original records of the original 13th amendment were thought to be destroyed at the time of the burning of the capitol during the War of 1812, but have since been found in the archives of the British Museum, the national archives and in the archives of several of the States and territories. The fact of its existence had been lost to memory until, by chance, researchers discovered in the public library at Belfast, Maine an 1825 copy of the U. S. Constitution.MA1825 Subsequent research shows that it was in the records of the ratifying states and territories until 1876, the last to drop it from record was the Territory of Wyoming after 1876. The most intriguing discovery was the 1867 Colorado Territory edition which includes both the "missing" Thirteenth Amendment and the current 13th Amendment, on the same page. The current 13th Amendment is listed as the 14th Amendment in the 1867 Colorado edition. 

The 1876 Laws of Wyoming which similarly show the "missing" Thirteenth Amendment, the current 13th Amendment (freeing the slaves), and the current 15th Amendment on the same page. The current 13th Amendment is listed as the 14th, the current 14th amendment is omitted, and the current 15th Amendment is in proper place. 

For further discussion and the history of the Original Thirteenth Amendment see "Demon of Discord, Ratification and Suppression of the Original Thirteenth Article of Amendment to the Constitution of the United States." 

On December 3, 1860, the month after Lincoln was elected, President Buchanan asked Congress to propose an "explanatory amendment". It was to be another 13th Amendment, to eradicate and cover-up the deletion of the Original Thirteenth Title of Nobility and Honour Amendment. This proposed amendment, which would have forever legalized slavery, was signed by President Lincoln shortly after he took office. 

This amendment to the Constitution relating to slavery was sent to the states for ratification by the Second Session of the Thirty-sixth Congress on March 2, 1861, when it passed the Senate, having previously passed the House on February 28, 1861. It is interesting to note in this connection that this is the only proposed (and not ratified) amendment to the Constitution to have been signed by the President. The President's signature is considered unnecessary because of the constitutional provision that on the concurrence of two-thirds of both Houses of Congress the proposal shall be submitted to the States for ratification. 

The resolve to amend signed by President Buchanan on March 2, 1861, two days before Lincoln's inauguration, read: 

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the following article be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which, when ratified by three-fourths of said Legislatures, shall be valid, to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution, viz: 

"ARTICLE THIRTEEN, No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State." 

In other words, President Buchanan had signed a resolve that would have forever permitted slavery, and upheld states' rights. Only one State, Illinois, Lincoln's home state, had ratified this proposed amendment before the Civil War broke out in 1861. It appears at 12 Stat. 251, 36th Congress. Two more State legislatures ratified it, beginning with Ohio on May 13, 1861, followed by Maryland on January 10, 1862. 

But the onslaught of the Civil War taught that the Nation may be in even greater peril from the States than they ever were from the Nation. And so, after more than seventy years of national life, the people, by the presently acknowledged 13th Amendment and the two following, laid upon the States restrictions which a few years before would have been impossible. The Constitution had gone forty-six years (1819 - 1865) without an Amendment. 

In the tumult of 1865, the original Thirteenth Amendment was removed from our Constitution. In a Congressional Resolve to amend dated December 5, 1864, approved and signed by President Lincoln, another Amendment numbered XIII (which prohibited slavery in Sect. 1, and ended states' rights in Sect. 2) was proposed. When, on January 13, 1865, a two-thirds vote was taken in the House of Representatives for proposing the currently presented 13th Amendment "in honor of the immortal and sublime event" the House adjourned. It was presented to the States on February 1, 1865 for ratification. On April 9, 1865 the Civil War ended with General Lee's surrender. On April 14, President Lincoln (who, in 1861, had signed the proposed Amendment that would have allowed slavery and states rights) was assassinated, dying on April 15th. 

On December 18, 1865, the "new" 13th Amendment loudly prohibiting and abolishing slavery (and quietly surrendering states rights to the federal government) was proclaimed adopted by Secretary of State Seward, replacing and effectively erasing the original Thirteenth Amendment that had prohibited acceptance of "titles of nobility" and "honors" and "emoluments", and dishonest politicians have been bought and bribed and have treasonously accepted graft from external sources ever since, with no thought of penalty.

Article XIII


Proposed by Congress February 1, 1865, proclaimed adopted December 18, 1865. 

See Also Utah Supreme Court Opinion, Dyett vs Turner, a March 22, 1968 opinion of the Utah Supreme Court. It is the official view of the Court on the flawed nature of the so-called Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments. 


Section 1. 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.


The language of this Amendment is older than the Constitution itself. On July 13, 1787, the Congress under the Articles of Confederation passed the ordinance creating the Northwest Territory (Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin), which provided: "There shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in the said territory otherwise than in punishment of crimes, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted." But a proviso required the return from the territory of fugitive slaves. 

When, on January 13, 1865, a two-thirds vote was taken in the House of Representatives for proposing the Thirteenth Amendment "in honor of the immortal and sublime event" the House adjourned. 

Congress had previously abolished slavery in the District of Columbia and in the Territories, had repealed the Fugitive Slave Law, and had given freedom to the Negroes who had served in the Union armies. 

The Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves only in the seceded States, excepting some parishes (counties) in Louisiana, a few counties in Virginia, and the whole of Tennessee. Besides, the validity of the proclamation under the war power of the President was questioned. To remove the legal doubt and to liberate slaves everywhere the Amendment was adopted. 

Of the Thirteenth Amendment a Federal court said:

"It trenches directly upon the power of the States and of the people of the States, It is the first and only instance of a change of this character in the organic law. It destroyed the most important relation between capital and labor in all the States where slavery existed. It affected deeply the fortunes of a large portion of their people. It struck out of existence millions of property. The measure was the consequence of a strife of opinions, and a conflict of interests, real or imaginary, as old as the Constitution itself. These elements of discord grew in intensity. Their violence was increased by the throes and convulsions of a civil war. The impetuous vortex finally swallowed up the evil, and with it forever the power to restore it." 

A law of a State under which one fined for a misdemeanor confessed judgment and agreed to work out the fine for the surety who paid it for him was held by the Supreme Court (1914) to be unconstitutional as creating "involuntary servitude" in violation of this Amendment. 

A person who hired another under a contract by which the hirer had the right to imprison the worker or keep him under guard until the contract should he performed was held (1903) by a Federal court to violate the Peonage Act of Congress (1867) passed under this Amendment. And so it was held (1907) of a State law making it a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for one to agree to perform service and then, after receiving a part of the consideration in advance, refuse to perform. 

Thus it is seen from very late cases that this provision is still vital and active. But in many cases it has been held that city ordinances requiring persons committed to the city prison to work out their fines in the streets or elsewhere do not violate this Amendment. 


Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.


Congress passed under this constitutional authority the Civil Rights Act of March 1, 1875, another act prohibiting peonage, and some other statutes. The first and second sections of the Civil Rights Act of Congress were held (1888) by the Supreme Court in contravention of this Amendment, which is a regulation of the States with regard to slavery, and which does not authorize Congress to regulate the conduct of individuals who prevent Negroes from having the full and equal enjoyment of hotels, theatres, and other public places. Legislation of this kind comes within the police power of the State. In many of the States there has been legislation requiring the providing of separate but equal accommodations for white persons and Negroes. Such regulations have been held valid as essential to public order. 

The Supreme Court has said that while the object of this Amendment was undoubtedly to enforce the absolute equality of the two races before the law, "in the nature of things it could not have been intended to abolish distinctions based upon color, or to enforce social, as distinguished from political equality, or a commingling of the two races upon terms unsatisfactory to either." The Court said that laws permitting and even requiring separation did not imply the inferiority of either race to the other, and such laws had been generally, if not universally, recognized as within the competency of State legislatures in the exercise of their police powers. 

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