Monday, June 20, 2022

The Thirteenth Amendment to the US Constitution, General Order No. 3 of 19 June 1865, and constraints on freedom

The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which went into effect on 18 December 1865, abolished slavery and "involuntary servitude", but not completely – "except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted." General Order No. 3, which was issued by General Gordon Granger on 19 July 1865 and is the origin of the Juneteenth celebration, contains no such exception, but it does provide that "former masters and slaves" should become "employer and hired labor" and that "the freedmen" should "work for wages" and "will not be supported in idleness." In one case, freedom is constrained by punishment, in the other, by submission to "wage slavery." (Andrew Shields, #111words, 20 June 2022)


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