Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of HR0150
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Full Text of HR0150  99th General Assembly




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2    WHEREAS, The United States of America, for nearly 250 years
3following the colonization of Jamestown, Virginia, was built in
4large part from the work of an estimated 500,000 men and women
5of African origin brought to the new country, forced into labor
6and deprived of their liberty; and
7    WHEREAS, The importation of these men and women into the
8United States continued until Congress outlawed the slave trade
9in March 1807, after which time slavery instead came to rely on
10those already enslaved and their descendants; and
11    WHEREAS, By 1860, the United States slave population had
12grown to number almost 4 million, accounting for more than 12%
13of the country's entire population; and
14    WHEREAS, Slavery, which President Abraham Lincoln called a
15"monstrous injustice", imposed harsh and inhumane conditions
16on slaves who were unable to escape, running directly counter
17to the American ideals of life, liberty, and the pursuit of
18happiness expressed in the Declaration of Independence; and
19    WHEREAS, The national debate over slavery, which had begun
20with the United States Constitutional Convention and continued
21as new territory was added, included divisive decisions such as



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1the Missouri Compromise in 1820 and the Kansas-Nebraska Act in
21854; it came to a head with the 1860 presidential election of
3Abraham Lincoln, who opposed expanding slavery into new
4territories; and
5    WHEREAS, Within 3 months of President Lincoln's election, 7
6southern states seceded from the Union, forming the Confederate
7States of America and setting the country on a course for civil
8war; following the first shot of the Civil War upon the federal
9outpost of Fort Sumter off the coast of Charleston, South
10Carolina on April 12, 1861, 4 more southern states and border
11states seceded from the Union and joined the Confederate States
12of America; and
13    WHEREAS, In the midst of the Civil War on January 1, 1863,
14President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation,
15granting freedom to all slaves in areas of the Confederacy not
16already under Union control, which enabled Union soldiers to
17enforce emancipation as they advanced into the Confederacy,
18freeing many American slaves; and
19    WHEREAS, A number of freed slaves, whether by means of
20emancipation or by means of escape, immediately enlisted in the
21Union Army to continue fighting for the freedom of all slaves;



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1    WHEREAS, On January 11, 1864, United States Senator John B.
2Henderson of Missouri submitted a joint resolution for a
3constitutional amendment abolishing slavery, with the U.S.
4Senate passing the resolution on April 8, 1864 and the U.S.
5House of Representatives passing it on January 31, 1865; and
6    WHEREAS, Illinois was the first state to ratify the
7Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution on
8February 1, 1865; and
9    WHEREAS, With Georgia's ratification on December 6, 1865,
10the Thirteenth Amendment was ratified by three-fourths of the
11states, and on December 18, 1865, Secretary of State William H.
12Seward proclaimed it to be valid as a part of the Constitution;
14    WHEREAS, As the New York World stated on December 19, 1865,
15"The proclamation of Secretary Seward, published yesterday,
16making the official declaration required by law that the
17Constitutional amendment had been ratified by the requisite
18three fourths of the States, takes out of politics, and
19consigns to history, an institution incongruous with justice,
20and repugnant to the human sentiments fostered by Christian
21civilization"; and
22    WHEREAS, The Thirteenth Amendment freed all remaining



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1slaves within the United States, which by that time numbered at
2least 40,000; and
3    WHEREAS, Though the fight for civil rights had only just
4begun, the Thirteenth Amendment marked an important turning
5point in American history and in recognizing the equality of
6all; therefore, be it
9recognize the 150th anniversary of the Thirteenth Amendment on
10December 6, 2015; and be it further
11    RESOLVED, That the State of Illinois honors all individuals
12involved in the fight against slavery, especially those who
13gave their lives in support of the enduring legacy of freedom
14enshrined in the Thirteenth Amendment.