Many people view the Emancipation Proclamation as the reason slavery was abolished. This is not entirely true, because although President Abraham Lincoln issued it, he knew that as a single man, he could not reasonably defend and enforce it, even if he was the leader of the nation.The 13th Amendment, however, was officially passed through Congress. This meant that most of the country, at least the northern elected officials, felt that the slavery was an institution that they no longer wanted in their nation.
As this amendment passed, so too did the years of torment experienced by African Americans who were treated as nothing but “property”. African Americans could no longer be held as possessions, they did not have to take orders from their white masters, and they could take their families and start to build their lives freely and without the fear of being sold or separated. That being said, the 13th Amendment did not make African Americans truly equal. It granted them their freedom, but did nothing to guarantee them with voting rights, benefits, or the same opportunities as their white countrymen. America itself was still incredibly racist, in the North and the South, and this racial discrimination and prejudice wouldn’t officially end until the 1960s after the Civil Rights Movement. And even this isn’t necessarily the truth. Although today racism is illegal in this country, it doesn’t stop the stereotyping and prejudice that still exists is American society today.
Even though slavery itself was abolished with the 13th Amendment, prejudice against African Americans persists to this day, founded in the deep roots of slavery that gripped the country as far back as the first colonies. As America was fighting for its independence, slavery stood as a stark contradiction to their ideals of equality. This type of cemented history is hard to break away from, but steps like the 13th Amendment put the country on the right path to overcoming its past grievances.