Today In History Spotlights Jan. 31, 1865, 13th Amendment to the US Constitution is Passed

This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
Get The Real News Delivered To Your Inbox

Today’s History Spotlight

The 13th Amendment to the US Constitution is passed. The first of three Reconstruction amendments, this new addition to the Constitution prohibited slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishable for a crime.

Often considered one of the most important amendments added to the Constitution, it reinforced President Lincoln’s vision of a “New birth of freedom,” upheld the proposition that “All men are created equal,” and paved the way for racial equality in the US. African-Americans would, unfortunately, still have a long road towards racial equality, as state laws in both the North and South would defy the federal Constitution.

What Happened On This Day – January 31

  • 2011 Myanmar’s first elected parliament in half a century convenes. The event underlined a general move towards democracy in the country.
  • 2000 Alaska Airlines flight 261 crashes into the sea. The MD-83 experienced horizontal stabilizer problems before descending into the Pacific Ocean, killing all 88 on board.
  • 1996 A suicide bombing in Sri Lanka kills 91 people. Separatist Tamil Tigers detonated a truck loaded with explosives in front of the central bank in Colombo.
  • 1961 Ham the Chimp travels into outer space. The chimpanzee survived the US Mercury Program test flight with just a bruised nose.
  • 1865 The 13th Amendment to the US Constitution is passed. The Amendment, which officially abolished slavery, was adopted on December 6, 1865.

Births On This Day – January 31

  • 1982 Elena Paparizou – Greek/Swedish singer-songwriter
  • 1975 Preity Zinta – Indian actress
  • 1937 Philip Glass – American composer
  • 1919 Jackie Robinson – American baseball player
  • 1797 Franz Schubert – Austrian composer

Deaths On This Day – January 31

  • 1969 Meher Baba – Indian mystic
  • 1956 A. A. Milne – English author
  • 1954 Edwin Armstrong – American engineer, invented FM radio
  • 1888 John Bosco – Italian priest, educator
  • 1606 Guy Fawkes – English soldier, planned the Gunpowder Plot

The sections “What Happened On This Day,” “Births On This Day,” and “Deaths On This Day” originally appeared at TimeandDate.com and is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.