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Thread: The Corwin Amendment, Slavery, and Abraham Lincoln

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    The Corwin Amendment, Slavery, and Abraham Lincoln

    A little bit of history I hadn't heard before.

    The Corwin Amendment, Slavery, and Abraham Lincoln

    The Corwin Amendment, also called the “Slavery Amendment,” was a constitutional amendment passed by Congress in 1861 but never ratified by the states that would have banned the federal government from abolishing slavery in the states where it existed at the time. Considering it a last-ditch effort to prevent the looming Civil War, supporters of the Corwin Amendment hoped it would prevent the southern states that had not already done so from seceding from the Union. Ironically, Abraham Lincoln did not oppose the measure.

    ...The operative section of the Corwin Amendment states:
    “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.”

    ...While still in office until Lincoln’s inauguration, Democratic President James Buchanan declared secession to be a constitutional crisis and asked Congress to come up with a way to reassure the southern states that the incoming Republican administration under Lincoln would not outlaw slavery.

    ...After considering and rejecting 57 draft resolutions introduced by a host of Representatives, the House approved Corwin's version of the slavery-protecting amendment on February 28, 1861, by a vote of 133 to 65. The Senate passed the resolution on March 2, 1861, by a vote of 24 to 12. Since proposed constitutional amendments require a two-thirds supermajority vote for passage, 132 votes were required in the House and 24 votes in the Senate. Having already announced their intent to secede from the Union, representatives of the seven slave states refused to vote on the resolution.

    ...While philosophically opposed to slavery itself, President-elect Abraham Lincoln, still hoping to avert war, did not object to the Corwin Amendment. Stopping short of actually endorsing it, Lincoln, in his first inaugural address on March 4, 1861, said of the amendment:
    “I understand a proposed amendment to the Constitution—which amendment, however, I have not seen—has passed Congress, to the effect that the Federal Government shall never interfere with the domestic institutions of the States, including that of persons held to service ... holding such a provision to now be implied constitutional law, I have no objection to its being made express and irrevocable.”

    Just weeks before the outbreak of the Civil War, Lincoln transmitted the proposed amendment to the governors of each state along with a letter noting that former-President Buchanan had signed it.

    ...As it stands today, only three states—Kentucky, Rhode Island, and Illinois—have ratified the Corwin Amendment. While the states of Ohio and Maryland initially ratified it in 1861 and 1862 respectively, they subsequently rescinded their actions in 1864 and 2014.

    Interestingly, had it been ratified before the end of the Civil War and Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, the Corwin Amendment protecting slavery would have become the 13th Amendment, instead of the existing 13th Amendment that abolished it....
    Edmund Burke: "In vain you tell me that Artificial Government is good, but that I fall out only with the Abuse. The Thing! the Thing itself is the Abuse!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris View Post
    A little bit of history I hadn't heard before.

    The Corwin Amendment, Slavery, and Abraham Lincoln
    Interesting but not surprising.

    Lincoln, in a letter to Horace Greeley said:

    Anyone who studies Lincoln understands that his reason for fighting the war was not slavery -- although it later became politically advantageous for him to adopt that position.
    I have from an early age abjured the use of meat, and the time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look upon the murder of men.
    ~Leonardo da Vinci

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    Captdon (04-29-2019),Chris (04-29-2019)

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