This Week in the Civil War - #1000
On Friday, January 6, 1865, in the House of Representatives Republican J.M. Ashley brought up the proposed Thirteenth Amendment to abolish slavery. The proposal had passed the Senate but failed in the House. Advocates of the measure like Ashley, the Radical Republicans, and President Lincoln desired House approval; Ashley declared, “Mr. Speaker, if slavery is wrong and criminal, as the great body of enlightened Christian men admit, it is certainly our duty to abolish it, if we have the power.” Critics of the measure claimed that the principle aim of the war was to sustain the Union, not to end the institution of slavery. House approval seemingly depended on a minority of House Democrats who might be persuaded or pressured into changing their opposition to the proposed amendment.