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13th Amendment

     By the end of 1865, national sentiment had stirred due to the potential passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.  For the first time, federal legislation highlighted African Americans as the sole subject of the law, in which each individual state—whether or not yet recognized by the Union—must abide.  The overall goal, for “neither slavery or involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for a crime, where of the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction,” had easily been accepted by the state legislature of North Carolina. (Item #2812).  In this regard, the state of North Carolina had taken a huge step forward, but for what true intention?  Nearing one year since the war’s end, perhaps many North Carolinian state officials remained publicly loyal to the Union in hope of proving their trustworthiness and growing desire to rejoin national politics.  Moreover, in order to revive its agricultural economy, North Carolinians still perceived African Americans as sources of manual labor.  Yet even African Americans—despite their great sense of achievement—understood that “much misunderstanding and confusion should exist” within the country. (Item #2814).  Though African Americans believed this as a stepping stone for further unity within the United States, some southern whites perceived the federal action as an infringement on the welfare of white society.