Abraham Lincoln, Volume II eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 377 pages of information about Abraham Lincoln, Volume II.
absent when their names were called.  Thus both the great parties united to establish the freedom of all men in the United States.  As the roll-call drew to the end, those who had been anxiously keeping tally saw that the measure had been carried.  The speaker, Mr. Colfax, announced the result; ayes 119, noes 56, and declared that “the joint resolution is passed.”  At once there arose from the distinguished crowd an irrepressible outburst of triumphant applause; there was no use in rapping to order, or trying to turn to other business, and a motion to adjourn, “in honor of this immortal and sublime event,” was promptly made and carried.  At the same moment, on Capitol Hill, artillery roared loud salutation to the edict of freedom.

The crowds poured to the White House, and Mr. Lincoln, in a few words, of which the simplicity fitted well with the grandness of the occasion, congratulated them, in homely phrase, that “the great job is ended.”  Yet, though this was substantially true, he did not live to see the strictly legal completion.  Ratification by the States was still necessary, and though this began at once, and proceeded in due course as their legislatures came into session, yet the full three quarters of the whole number had not passed the requisite resolutions at the time of his death.  This, however, was mere matter of form.  The question was really settled when Mr. Colfax announced the vote of the representatives.[78]


[77] A constitutional amendment requires for its passage a two thirds vote in the Senate and the House of Representatives, and ratification by three fourths of the States.

[78] Thirteenth Amendment. First:  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. Second:  Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.



From the Capitol, where he had spoken his inaugural on March 4, 1865, Mr. Lincoln came back to the White House with less than five weeks of life before him; yet for those scant weeks most men would have gladly exchanged their full lifetimes.  To the nation they came fraught with all the intoxicating triumph of victory; but upon the President they laid the vast responsibility of rightly shaping and using success; and it was far less easy to end the war wisely than it had been to conduct it vigorously.  Two populations, with numbers and resources amply enough for two powerful nations, after four years of sanguinary, relentless conflict, in which each side had been inspired and upheld by a faith like that of the first crusaders, were now to be reunited as fellow citizens, and to

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Abraham Lincoln, Volume II from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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