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On Dec. 18, 1865, the 13th Amendment was formally adopted into the U.S. Constitution, ensuring that “neither slavery nor involuntary servitude … shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” Congress had annulled the fugitive slave laws, prohibited slavery in the U.S. territories, and authorized President Abraham Lincoln to employ freed slaves in the army in 1862. Then Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863, which was followed by the ratification of the 13th Amendment. The amendment was passed by the Senate in April 1864 and in the House in January 1865. The last state to sign for a three-fourths majority was Alabama on Dec. 2, 1865.