The Thirteenth Amendment was signed by Abraham Lincoln on this day in 1865. After a year of changes to the amendment, the necessary amount of states passed the bill in the Senate and the Congress, allowing the President to pass the resolution. It outlawed the practice of slavery throughout the country, which was a major cause for the Civil War, which had only just ended when the bill went into effect. Effectively ending slavery, the bill would put the United States on par with the other major European powers at the time, who had already declared slavery illegal in their mainland possessions. The bill, which angered many Southerners due to their economic dependence on the slave trade, sparked an actor, John Wilkes Booth, to assassinate Lincoln mere weeks after his second election win, in April 1865. Lincoln was shot in the middle of a play, and later died from the gunshot wound.
“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”