Skip to Content

Explore the Constellation

The 13th Amendment: Free at Last



While the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation only freed enslaved people in rebelling states, the 13th Amendment ultimately ended slavery throughout the nation. The amendment passed in the House in January 1865, and its ratification was complete almost a year later, in December 1865. The 13th Amendment is one of three important constitutional amendments (known as the Reconstruction Amendments) that changed the nation forever. The other amendments include the 14th Amendment, which granted citizenship, due process, and equal protection to African Americans, and the 15th Amendment, which extended the right to vote to Black men.