This Week in the Civil War - #1022
The northern states promptly began ratifying the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution which would outlaw the institution of slavery. Lincoln’s home state of Illinois became the first to ratify the amendment on February 1, 1865, but Maryland, New York, and West Virginia also ratified the amendment by February 3. It seemed to most observers that the northern states, long opposing the institution of slavery, welcomed ratification of the anti-slavery amendment, thus emphatically confirming why the war was being fought. To the majority of northerners, ending slavery was—and remained—the primary reason for continuing the conflict against the South. Even for Confederate citizens who initially argued that the war was based on states’ rights the outlawing of slavery in the North confirmed the true reason for the American Civil War.