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Delaware and the Civil War Amendments

About The Amendments

At the end of and following the Civil War, three amendments to the constitution were proposed and ratified: the 13th (1865), 14th (1868), and 15th (1870). These amendments are commonly known as the Reconstruction amendments and are also called Civil War amendments, Civil Rights amendments, or Equality amendments.

Thirteenth Amendment

Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Passed by Congress January 31, 1865. Ratified December 6, 1865.

Fourteenth Amendment

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Section 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice-President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.

Section 3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

Section 5. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

Passed by Congress June 13, 1866. Ratified July 9, 1868.

Fifteenth Amendment

Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Passed by Congress February 26, 1869. Ratified February 3, 1870.

Amending the Constitution

The Constitution is a living document. Article V describes the process for amending the Constitution:

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.
Delaware

Delaware ratified the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments on February 12, 1901.

13th Amendment
Rejected February 8, 1865
15th Amendment
Rejected March 18, 1869
14th Amendment
Rejected February 8, 1867
 

Researching Delaware and the Amendments

There are many topics to investigate in understanding the proposal and ratification of the Civil War amendments. There are questions concerning the constitutionality of the amendments. 1 Questions were raised about the validity of the ratification process, especially for the Fourteenth Amendment, including what states should be counted and can a state withdraw its ratification? 2 There were those who believed the amendments were drafted by secret groups with hidden motives.3 The nation had endured a devastating war and now had defeated states which had not regained their status in the union and thousands of emancipated people who needed assistance. Also in those years there had been the death of a president, the transition of power to a new president, and an impeachment of that president.

In addition to those widely experienced stresses, Delaware had conditions and situations that set the state apart from the other states. Delaware (just as Maryland, Kentucky, and Tennessee) was a border state, never seceeding from the union, yet southern in much of its culture. It was a state where people owned slaves, but the small number of slaves was far exceeded by the number of free blacks (in the 1860 census there were 19, 829 free blacks and 1,798 slaves.) But even with such a small number of slaves, the state did not approve the compensated emancipation plan that Lincoln proposed in 1861. 4 Politics in Delaware in Reconstruction was dominated by the Democratic party and the Democratic party was dominated by two families, the Bayard family in New Castle County (U.S. Senator James Bayard was followed in that office by his son Thomas) and the Saulsbury brothers downstate (Governor Gove Saulsbury, U.S. Senator Willard Saulsbury, brother Eli, who was also Senator.) 5 Racism was powerful motivator for rejecting the amendments and for later situations, such as, preventing blacks from voting. Racism operated on different levels, sometimes subtle and at other times violent. Common themes included inferiority of the black race and a desire for race separation, including colonization/relocation plans for the freedmen. Many opposed the amendments because they feared the centralization of power at the federal level and the diminishment of the powers of the states. 6 These factors and others played a part in Delaware's rejection of the amendments.

The following guide presents resources for researching the many topics concerning the amendments nationally and in Delaware.

Reference Books and E-reference Books

Reference books can give an overview of a topic and are useful for finding dates and basic facts. Topics such as "Constitutional Amendments," "African Americans," "Reconstruction," "Black Codes," or "14th Amendment," etc., provide useful background information. Examples: Encyclopedia of the United States in the Nineteenth Century 7 and Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History: The Black Experience in the Americas. 8

Books

General history and law books are useful for context, such as: A History of Delaware, 1609-1888, by John Thomas Scharf (1888). 9

See the "Books" section of the Library Research Guide Delaware History for recommended general histories and hints for subject and keyword searching in the University of Delaware's two catalogs: DELCAT and WorldCat Local.

Online books -- some older general history books are no longer in copyright and are available full text online. There are two ways to find this out. 1) If you find the book in WorldCat Local, there may be one or more copies of the book. Look for a book with the "e book view now" symbol (ebook symbol) or look for a book with the words University of Delaware Library (in green) and see if there is an online copy.  2) Search for a book in Google books.

Demographics

Statistics and social characteristics of a population are a valuable part of research. An example of a statistical source is:

Historical Census Browser (http://mapserver.lib.virginia.edu/)

Create your own tables from data in the federal decennial censuses, 1790 to 1960. Tables can include percentages. A mapping function is linked to the data.

Delaware: County-Level Results for 1860 10
County TOTAL POPULATION TOTAL FREE POPULATION TOTAL WHITE PERSONS AGGR. FREE COLORED PERSONS TOTAL SLAVEHOLDERS TOTAL SLAVEHOLDERS/ TOTAL POPULATION (Percent)
STATE TOTALS 112,216110,41890,58919,8295870.52
KENT27,80427,60120,3307,271660.24
NEW CASTLE54,79754,54346,3558,188860.16
SUSSEX29,61528,27423,9044,3704351.47

 

Map of slaveholders by county, 1860.

Historical Census Browser


For more sources for statistics, see the "Statistics" section of the Library Research Guide U.S. Government Information.

Articles in Journals

Search Databases to find articles in journals (magazines and newspapers).

The Digital Bibliography of Delaware 11 is a UD Library resource that is freely available on the Internet. Sample search: slavery

One article retrieved is "Lincoln’s Compensated Emancipation Plan and its Relation to Delaware," which appeared in Delaware Notes 7:27–78 (1931). WorldCat Local shows that the publication is in print in Morris Library and is available online in the UD Institutional Repository. 12

The Library subscribes to online databases and journals from publishers. These resources are restricted to UD faculty, staff, and students. To access the resources from off-campus, UD affiliated researches need to enter their UDelNetID and password. These subscription databases are identified by the UD access only symbol.

Examples of useful databases:

Articles in Law Reviews

The University of Delaware Library subscribes to the database LexisNexis Academic UD access only,13 which has full text of articles in law reviews. Select the U.S. Legal section, then Law Reviews. An example is:

"Essay and Article Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Arizona Law Review: Beyond the Supermajority: Post - Adoption Ratification of the Equality Amendments." By Gabriel Chin and Anjali Abraham (2008). 14

Government Publications: U.S. and Delaware

Legislative documents for Delaware include: House Journal (debates and proceedings), Senate Journal (debates and proceedings), and the Laws of Delaware (session laws). 15

Useful federal sources include Statutes at Large (laws passed by Congress; session laws), 16 the Serial Set (Reports and Document of Congress), and the Congressional Globe (debates and proceedings of Congress).

Use the database U.S. Congressional Serial Set UD access only17 to find Congressional Reports and Documents. Sample search: 14th amendment. This search brings up a suggestion to try the Topic Link: 14th Amendment (U.S. Constitution). One citation retrieved is: Message of the President ..., communicating ... a list of the states whose legislatures have ratified the proposed 14th Article of Amendment... This was published as a Senate Executive Document in the 40th Congress, 2nd session. 18 (Note: the full document is available in the database.

To find debates and proceedings look in the Congressional Globe for the the dates around the time an important event occurred, such as when an amendment was proposed and when it was ratified. Example: the Thirteenth amendment was passed by Congress on Tuesday, January 31, 1865.

The Congressional Globe is online at the Library of Congress site: A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation. There is a Browse by date option. Looking at the date January 31 shows discussion in the House of Representatives, p. 523. 19 When searching for a date, also check prior days.

To find comments by Delaware's congressmen, use the Browse feature to find the person's name. To identify the names of the senators and members of the House, use the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774 to Present. 21

The full text of the online Globe is not searchable; the search feature only covers the headings applied to the pages and terms from a very brief index. The heading for the January 31st page is: "Congressional Globe, House of Representatives, 39th Congress, 1st Session, Pages 253 through 254, Constitutional Amendment--Mr. Cullom." This page can be found by searching "13th amendment," "thirteenth amendment," or "Cullom."

For more information on legal research, see the Library Research Guides: U.S. Government Legal Information and Delaware Legal Information.

Court cases are another legal resource. Many cases have referenced these amendments. Books and articles will identify famous cases. The Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation (CONAN) covers court cases related to the constitution. 22

Also, cases can be searched by topic, such as involuntary servitude, equal rights, and voting practices. Examples:

Supreme Court of the United States: Neal v. Delaware (103 U.S. 370, 1880). A trial court conviction of a black man was overturned because blacks did not serve on juries in Delaware.

Supreme Court of the United States: Plessy v. Ferguson (163 U.S. 537, 1896). The races can be separate as long as they are treated equally.

Circuit Court for the District of Delaware case: United States v. Given (25 F. Cas. 1324, 1878). Archibald Given, Delaware tax collector, found guilty of preventing blacks from voting by not adding their names to the tax lists.

The University of Delaware Library subscribes to the database LexisNexis Academic UD access only,23 which has federal and state case decisions/opinions. See the "U.S. Legal" section.

If you know the legal citation for a case, you can search from the opening page of LexisNexis Academic. Use the option, "Look up a Legal Case" ... "By Citation" and enter the citation in the search box, example: 25 F. Cas. 1324

Transcripts and oral arguments of cases are not widely distributed and are not available in most libraries. The University of Michigan has digitized materials related to the Brown v. Board of Education decision (347 U.S. 483, 1954). Among these is the reargument of the case Gebhart v. Belton in the Supreme Court, December 9, 1953. The argument includes a description of the social and political situation in Delaware. Supreme Court of Delaware (91 A.2d 137, 1952) and U.S. Supreme Court (344 U.S. 891, 1952). 24

Resources
Title: Adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Author: Horace Edgar Flack.
Published: Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 1908.
Location: University of Delaware Library Annex H31 .A1 J642 v.26
Location: WorldArchive http://archive.org/details/adoptionfourtee01flacgoog
Location: preview on Google Books http://books.google.com/books?id=LFp8_8s4kNUC&oe=UTF-8

Title: Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774 to Present.
Author: U.S. Senate Library.
Location: http://bioguide.congress.gov/biosearch/biosearch.asp
Description: Information about any senator, representative, vice president, or member of the Continental Congress.

Title of article: "Book Review."
Author: Willard Hurst.
Journal: Harvard Law Review 52, no. 5 (Mar.1939): pp. 851-860.
Location: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1333461
Location: Retrieved from JSTOR UD access only
Description: Reviews of: Boudin, Louis B. "Truth and Fiction about the Fourteenth Amendment." New York University Law Quarterly Review 16 (1938): 19; Graham, Howard Jay. The "Conspiracy Theory" of the Fourteenth Amendment. Part One, Yale Law Journal 47 (1938): 371-403 and Part Two, Yale Law Journal 48 (1938): 171-94; Warsoff, Louis A. Equality and the Law. New York: Liveright Publishing Corporation, 1938.

Title: The Congressional Globe.
Author: United States. Congress.
Published: Washington: Blair & Rives.
Location: University of Delaware Library; see location information
Location: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/amlaw/lwcg.html
Description: Contains the congressional debates of the 23rd through 42nd Congresses (1833-73). The online edition is part of the Library of Congress collection A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation.

Title: Constitution of the United States.
Series: America's Historical Documents.
Published: National Archives.
Location: http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution.html
Description: This National Archives page offers a wealth of resources: facsimiles of the original constitution, transcription, and information about the constitution. Additionally, the National Archives and Records Administration building in Washington has a display copy and information about visiting the exhibit.

Title: Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation (CONAN).
Published: Washington: U.S. G.P.O.
Location: http://purl.access.gpo.gov/GPO/LPS122385
Location: University of Delaware Library - Reference KF 4527 .U54 2004
Description: Coverage of court cases on constitutional law. The "base edition" covers court cases through 2002. Kept up to date by biennial supplements. Note: the online "base edition" is a huge PDF file; the document is more than 2000 pages.
Note: One of the publications available on the Government Printing Office's Federal Digital System (FDsys).

Title: Digital Bibliography of Delaware.
Author: UD Library
Location: http://www.lib.udel.edu/digital/dbd.php
Location: http://www2.lib.udel.edu/database/dbd.html

Title: Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History: The Black Experience in the Americas. 2nd ed.
Published: Detroit: Macmillan Reference, 2006.
Location: University of Delaware Library - Reference E 185 .E54 2006

Title: Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History: The Black Experience in the Americas. 2nd ed.
Published: Detroit: Macmillan Reference, 2006.
Location: University of Delaware Library - Reference E 185 .E54 2006

Title: Encyclopedia of the United States in the Nineteenth Century. UD access only
Published: New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2001.
Location: University of Delaware Library - Reference E 169.1 .E626 2001
Location: Electronic Book (UD Access only)
Note: Part of the Credo Reference database UD access only, an online collection of encyclopedias, dictionaries, etc.

Title of article: Essay and Article Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Arizona Law Review: Beyond the Supermajority: Post - Adoption Ratification of the Equality Amendments.
Authors: Gabriel Chin and Anjali Abraham.
Journal: Arizona Law Review (Spring 2008): 25-47.
Location: Retrieved from LexisNexis Academic UD access only

Title: The Fourteenth Amendment and the States: A Study of the Operation of the Restraint Clauses of Section One of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.
Author: Charles Wallace Collins.
Published: New York: Da Capo Press, 1974 [©1912].
Location: University of Delaware Library KF 4558 14th .C64 1974
Location: Google Books http://books.google.com/books?id=tBBD9JdqFNkC&source=gbs_navlinks_s

Title: Gebhart v. Belton.
Court: Delaware Supreme Court (91 A.2d 137, 1952).
Court: U.S. Supreme Court (344 U.S. 891, 1952).
Location: http://www.lib.umich.edu/brown-versus-board-education/oral/ReqrgumentGebhart.pdf
Notes: Oral arguments presented in a reargument in the U.S. Supreme Court, December 9, 1953, in a case related to the Brown v. Board of Education decision. Part of the Brown v. Board of Education Digital Archive at the University of Michigan.

Title: Historical Census Browser.
Author: U.S. Census
Author: University of Virginia, Geospatial and Statistical Data Center
Location: http://mapserver.lib.virginia.edu/index.html
Notes: Census of population data from 1790 to 1960. Create data tables and maps.

Title: History of Delaware. 4th ed.
Author: John A. Munroe.
Published: Newark, DE: University of Delaware Press, 2001.
Location: University of Delaware Library - Reference F 164 .M83 2001

Title: History of Delaware, 1609-1888.
Author: John Thomas Scharf.
Published: Philadelphia: L. J. Richards, 1888.
Location: University of Delaware Library - Reference F 164 .S31
Location: Other locations

Title: A House Divided: Slavery and Emancipation in Delaware, 1638-1865.
Author: Patience Essah.
Published: Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1996.
Location: University of Delaware Library E 445 .D3 E87 1996

Title: Journal of the House of Representatives of the State of Delaware, at a Session of the General Assembly.
Author: Delaware. General Assembly. House of Representatives.
Published: Dover, DE: S. & J. Adams.
Location: University of Delaware Library KFD 18B
Note: Inaugural address of Governor Gove Saulsbury, 1867, January 15, pp. 88-96. This is a good example of sentiments of the Democratic Party.

Title: Journal of the Senate of the State of Delaware, at a Session of the General Assembly.
Author: Delaware. General Assembly. Senate.
Published: Dover, DE: S. & J. Adams.
Location: University of Delaware Library KFD 18A

Title: Laws of the State of Delaware.
Author: Delaware. General Assembly.
Published: New-castle, DE: Samuel and John Adams.
Location: University of Delaware Library KFD 25
Location: http://delaware.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/landingpage/collection/p15323coll1 (Delaware Heritage Collection)
Location: http://delcode.delaware.gov/sessionlaws/
Note: Also called "session laws."

Title: Legislative and Judicial History of the Fifteenth Amendment.
Author: John Mabry Mathews.
Published: Johns Hopkins Press, 1909.
Location: HathiTrust http://hdl.handle.net/2027/mdp.39015030801552
Location: WorldArchive http://www.archive.org/details/legislativeandj01mathgoog

Title: LexisNexis Academic UD access only
Location: http://www2.lib.udel.edu/database/lexis.html

Title of article: Lincoln’s Compensated Emancipation Plan and its Relation to Delaware.
Author: H. Clay Reed.
Journal: Delaware Notes 7, (1931): 27-78.
Location: University of Delaware Library AS 36 .D45
Location: http://udspace.udel.edu/handle/19716/4482
Location: Retrieved from UD Institutional Repository

Title: Message of the President of the United States, Communicating, in Compliance with a Resolution of the Senate of the 9th Instant, a List of the States Whose Legislatures have Ratified the Proposed 14th Article of Amendment to the Constitution of the United States,..
Author: U.S. President (Andrew Johnson) and U.S. Department of State.
Identification: Serial Set Vol. No. 1317, 40th Congress, 2nd Session. S. Exec. Doc. 75.
Published: 1868.
Location: Full text of document available. UD access only
Location: Retrieved from U.S. Congressional Serial Set (Readex/NewsBank) UD access only

Title: The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States.
Published: New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.
Location: University of Delaware Library - Reference KF 8742. A35 O93 2005

Title: Ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Author: Joseph Bliss James.
Published: Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 1984.
Location: Not at UD. Available through Interlibrary Loan.

Title of chapter: "Reconstruction in Delaware."
Author of chapter: Harold B. Hancock.
Title of book: Radicalism, Racism, and Party Realignment; the Border States during Reconstruction
Editor of book Richard Orr Curry.
Published: Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins Press, 1969.
Location: University of Delaware Library E 668 .R15

Title: Segregation and the Fourteenth Amendment in the States: A Survey of State Segregation Laws, 1865-1953: Prepared for United States Supreme Court in Re, Brown Vs. Board of Education of Topeka.
Author: Bernard D. Reams and Paul E. Wilson.
Published: Buffalo: W. S. Hein, 1975.
Location: Not at UD. Available through Interlibrary Loan.

Title: U.S. Congressional Serial Set UD access only
Provider: Readex/NewsBank
Location: http://www2.lib.udel.edu/database/serialset.htmll

Title: United States Statutes at Large (Statutes At Large) (The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America).
Location: 1789-1875 available online in the Library of Congress collection A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation.
Location: Complete Collection of United States Statutes at Large, 1789-2007 . Online from http://constitution.org/uslaw/sal/sal.htm Caution: these are very large PDF files.

For Younger Readers

There are many books aimed toward younger readers. For books not available at the UD Library, check the Delaware Library Catalog for

Title:
Author:
Published:
Location:
The Reconstruction Amendments.
By Michael Burgan.
Minneapolis, MN: Compass Point Books, 2006.
Search the Delaware Library Catalog

Title:
Author:
Published:
Location:
The African-American Struggle for Legal Equality in American History.
Carole Boston Weatherford.
Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow, 2000.
Search the Delaware Library Catalog

Title:
Author:
Published:
Location:
The Struggle Against Slavery: A History in Documents.
David Waldstreicher.
Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.
University of Delaware Library E 447 .W35 2001
Search the Delaware Library Catalog

Title:
Author:
Published:
Location:
The Thirteenth Amendment: Ending Slavery.
Elizabeth Schleichert.
Springfield, NJ: Enslow Publishers, 1998.
Search the Delaware Library Catalog

Title:
Author:
Published:
Location:
The Fifteenth Amendment: African-American Men's Right to Vote.
By Susan Banfield.
Springfield, NJ: Enslow Publishers, 1998.
Search the Delaware Library Catalog

Title:
Author:
Published:
Location:
The Antislavery Movement.
James T. Rogers.
New York: Facts on File, 1994.
Search the Delaware Library Catalog

Title:
Author:
Published:
Location:
The Civil Rights Movement in America from 1865 to the Present.
Pat McKissack and Fredrick McKissack.
Chicago: Childrens Press, 1991.
Search the Delaware Library Catalog

Legislation Relating to Constitution Day

The law mandating Constitution Day programming appears as a section of an appropriations act: Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2005, Public Law 108-447. The Constitution Day and Citizenship Day measure appears in 118 Stat. 2809, 3344-45 (Section 111).

The measure changing the name from Constitution Day to Constitution Day and Citizenship Day appears in the United States Code (36 U.S.C. §106).

The Notice of Implementation appeared in the Notices section of the Federal Register, May 24, 2005 (70 FR 29727).

This page is maintained by Rebecca Knight, Reference Department.
Created for Constitution Day 2011. Last modified: 06/20/13