The joint resolution which passed the Senate at the last session and the House
Tuesday, by six votes above the requisite two-thirds, reads as follows:
"That the following article is proposed to the Legislature of the several
States as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States which, when
ratified by three fourths of said Legislature, shall be valid to all intents
and purposes, as a part of the Constitution, namely:
Sec. 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude except as a punishment of
a crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within
the United States, or anyplace subject to their jurisdiction.
Sec. 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation."
The Constitution has been amended at three different times. The first 10 articles
of amendments were passed by Congress and submitted to the States for ratification,
Sept. 25, 1789, and were ratified by three fourths of the States, Dec. 15, 1791.
The 11th amendment passed by Congress March 5, 1791, and was not ratified by
three-fourths of the States till January 8, 1799 The twelfth amendment was passed
by Congress Dec. 12, 1803, and ratified Sept. 25, 1804.
The "Articles of Confederation" were proposed by the Congress held
under the Declaration of Independence, Nov. 15, 1776, but were not ratified
by the 13 states till March 1, 1781.
The present Constitution was adopted in Convention of all the States, Sept.
17, 1787, was ratified by the ninth State (N. H.) June 21, 1788, which was enough
to carry the instrument into effect between the states so ratifying, but was
not finally ratified by all the the 13 states till May 29, 1790.
It thus appears that the adoption or alteration of the Constitution has heretofore
been a question of time,- in some cases three or four years. There is indeed
no limit fixed during which amendments must be ratified.
The friends of this new amendment ( and we envy not the head or heart of the
man who is not a friend to it) are therefore sure that it will be ratified by
the requisite number of states. It is only a question of time, and events indicate
a shorter time than some of the previous amendments.