Mississippi lawmakers have officially ratified the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which banned slavery in 1865.
One hundred forty-eight years after three-fourths of the states voted to approve the amendment, Mississippi's legislature finally took steps to fix the glaring oversight last month. According to the Jackson Clarion-Ledger, the decision was inspired by the Oscar-nominated film "Lincoln," which depicts the 16th president's efforts to enact the amendment.
After University of Mississippi Medical Center professor Dr. Ranjan Batra saw the film last year, he was inspired to look into what happened after states voted on the amendment. He found that while the state had originally rejected the slavery ban, the state legislature eventually voted to approve the amendment in 1995. The measure cleared both legislative chambers, but was never sent to the Office of the Federal Register and therefore never made official.
Batra then contacted another Mississippi resident, Ken Sullivan, who in turn got in touch with Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann. Hosemann's office agreed to fix the oversight and file the paperwork, making the ratification official on February 7.
Mississippi was the last state to approve the amendment. Kentucky, the second-to-last holdout, ratified it in 1976.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story stated incorrectly that three-fifths of the states voted 148 years ago to approve the amendment. It was three-fourths.
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We all know that Benjamin Franklin was an exemplary American, embodying the thrift, industriousness, and political equality we celebrate every Independence Day. He earned the title of "The First American" for his crusade to unite the original American colonies, but his loyalty to the U.S. may not have extended to his marriage. Despite his memorable paeans to the institution (Franklin famously <a href="http://www.swarthmore.edu/SocSci/bdorsey1/41docs/51-fra.html" target="_hplink">said</a>, "Marriage is the most natural state of man, and...the state in which you will find solid happiness") and his claim that "It is the man and woman united that make the complete human being," Franklin notoriously surrounded himself with female admirers. Though there are <a href="http://www.time.com/time/2003/franklin/bfwomen2.html" target="_hplink">no reports</a> of his consummating his relationships with these much younger, attractive women, Franklin <a href="http://www.time.com/time/2003/franklin/bfwomen.html" target="_hplink">was</a> "a master of amorous friendship...expressed in exchanges of teasing kisses, tender embraces, intimate conversations and rhapsodic love letters, but not necessarily sexual congress." Photo Courtesy of Flickr: mbell1975
Our first president, George Washington, is famous for his <a href="http://xroads.virginia.edu/~cap/gw/gwmoral.html" target="_hplink">inability to tell a lie</a>. The honest streak that made him famous certainly benefited his wife, Martha Dandridge Custis. Although there is some ambiguity surrounding his relationship with Sally Fairfax, to whom he wrote letters alluding to his affections for her, by all reports any flirtation between the two was <a href="http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/books/item_Rcd4C8DfaGj16So9zrbXBM" target="_hplink">never acted upon</a> after Washington married Martha. Photo Courtesy of Flickr: mbell1975
John Adams' marriage to his third cousin Abigail was one of collaboration, communication and codependence. <a href="http://www.thelizlibrary.org/suffrage/abigail.htm" target="_hplink">Correspondence</a> between the two illuminates their mutual devotion and intellectual respect; the pair always <a href="http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/adams/peopleevents/e_courtship.html" target="_hplink">referred to one another</a> as "My Dearest Friend." Abigail influenced John politically, <a href="http://www25.uua.org/uuhs/duub/articles/abigailadams.html" target="_hplink">urging him</a> to advocate for the abolition of slavery and against institutionalized sexism. By all accounts, our second president reportedly held his wife in high esteem and the pair shared a happy, faithful and loving marriage. Photo courtesy of Flickr: mbell1975
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