“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.
“Sec. 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”…
Now, therefore, be it known, that I, William H. Seward, Secretary of State of the United States…do hereby certify that the amendment aforesaid has become valid, to all intents and purposes, as a part of the Constitution of the United States.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the Department of State to be affixed.
Done at the city of Washington, this eighteenth day of December, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-five, and of the Independence of the United States of America the ninetieth.
Today, in the closing days of the two hundred and thirty-seventh year of American Independence, less than one hundred and fifty years since the constitutional abolition of slavery in the United States, we take that abolition completely for granted. That’s a bold statement, I know, but I believe it completely justified.