The Thirteenth Amendment, Free Essay with a Movie Review

Published: 2022-04-25 20:52:06
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The Thirteenth Amendment has been described by Representative Thaddeus Stevens as the "greatest measure of the nineteenth century spearheaded by the purest man in the United States." it is one of the most fundamental amendments that were put in place to realize America's founding principle of equality for all men. Despite the resistance it was met with, it was passed by the Senate and finally the Congress. Lincoln is celebrated for his tactical, money-filled and even emotional campaign towards the integration of the Thirteenth Amendment to abolish all forms of slavery in the United States. However, some critical steps had to take place to facilitate the passing of the Thirteenth Amendment.

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In the film, Lincoln's character as a master and tactical planner are evident all through. First of all, Lincoln issued the emancipation declaration. Under this declaration, Lincoln declared that all people that had at the time been held as slaves in any American State should consider themselves freed American citizens. This was good news for slaves, but it was not well received in the pro-slavery southern states. However, there were several issues with the declaration. First, it only affected the ten states that were still in rebellion during the war. It did not affect slaves in the Border States loyal to the federal government. Lincoln is, however, aware that there needs to be an actual constitutional amendment to guarantee equality.

Lincoln also used political vote buying tactics to ensure the smooth sailing of the Thirteenth Amendment. In the movie, Lincoln can be seen putting into use 'corrupt' methods such as offering promotions, titles, and jobs in exchange for support of the amendment and while at it engaging in pork barrel spending to grow his support base. He appears to be willing to employ the low-handed tactics by his chief negotiators to ensure slavery is eradicated.

In the movie, two key arms of government played a significant role in the debate for the adoption of the Thirteenth Amendment; the Senate and the Congress. These two houses were involved in the discussion on how constitutional the amendment was and if it should be adopted. In both houses, the push for the adoption of the Thirteenth Amendment was spearheaded by Lincoln's party, The Republicans. The Senate was the first house to pass the amendment on April 8, 1864. After a lot of campaigning against slavery, members of Congress finally voted for the amendment with it gaining the required two-thirds majority.

There, however, were several complications involving the legislative process. Although the amendment sailed through the Senate smoothly, it faced fierce opposition in the house of Congress. Democrats vehemently opposed the amendment citing federalism and that the amendment would be in violation of the First Amendment. Another complication in the legislative process was the number of Lincoln supporters in Congress. There were not enough Republicans in the Congress to ensure a two-thirds majority win for the amendment. The issue was, however, solved by influencing some of the Northern Democrats who pledged support for the amendment.

The Thirteenth Amendment is perhaps the most important amendment that was done to the American constitution. America is currently a free land where all men are equal, and the Thirteenth Amendment is responsible for that. Renowned economists have been quoted to say that free men are more productive than slaves. As such, I believe America would not be half as great as it is today. By the abolition of slavery, it shut down the slave market and consequently the global slave trade.

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