The Thirteenth through Fifteenth Amendments: 1865-1870

 

Amendment XIII

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.

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

Proposed by Congress January 31, 1865; ratification completed December 6 and declared
December 18, 1865.
 
Amendment XIV

SECTION 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the
jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.
No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of
citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or
property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

SECTION 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their
respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians
not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President
and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of
the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty one years of age,* and citizens of the
United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime,
the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of
such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age
in such State.

SECTION 3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of
President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or
under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an
officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or
judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have
engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies
thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two thirds of each House, remove such disability.

SECTION 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law,
including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing
insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State
shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against
the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts,
obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

SECTION 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the
provisions of this article.

* "male inhabitants . . . twenty one years of age," see Nineteenth and Twenty-sixth
Amendments

Proposed by Congress June 13, 1866; ratification completed July 9 and declared
July 28, 1868.

Amendment XV

SECTION 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or
abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous
condition of servitude.

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

Proposed by Congress February 26, 1869; ratification completed February 3 and declared
March 30, 1870.