Original Sin: Slavery, Abolition, and America’s Moral Awakening

On Friday, April 21, the U.S. Capitol Historical Society continued our series on the Constitution with a study of the 13th Amendment: the battle for its passage, its impact, and its legacy today. Our featured guest to lead this still important conversation was award-winning Professor of History & Law at Duke University, Dr. Thavolia Glymph, an elected Executive Board Member of the Society of American Historians.

During our event, we explored the economic impact of slavery, both as a Southern institution and as a driver of Northern manufacturing, and discuss President Lincoln’s views on the constitutionality of slavery, the legal basis for the Emancipation Proclamation, and why the 13th Amendment was still necessary. Finally, we detailed the immeasurable impact of the 13th Amendment on African Americans and our society, but also why we still grapple with the history of slavery in a nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

The Society’s theme for 2023 is “Crises & Heroes: How Our Nation Has Long Endured.” We highlighted the role that the 13th Amendment played in saving such a nation.

Dr. Glymph is Peabody Family Distinguished Professor of History and Professor of Law at Duke University. Her recent book, The Women’s Fight: The Civil War’s Battles for Home, Freedom, and Nation, won several awards, including the 2021 Beveridge Award as the best English-language book on the history of the United States, Latin America, or Canada, from 1492 to the present from the American Historical Association; The Mary Nickliss Prize from the Organization of American Historians; and the Tom Watson Brown Book Award from the  Society of Civil War Historians and the Watson-Brown Foundation. Her first book, Out of the House of Bondage: The Transformation of the Plantation Household won the 2009 Philip Taft Labor History Book Award. Dr. Glymph is a past President of the Southern Historical Association and an elected member of the Society of American Historians, the American Antiquarian Society, and the Board of Directors of the Gettysburg Foundation, and President-elect of the American Historical Association.

Out of the House of Bondage: The Transformation of the Plantation Household

Out of the House of Bondage: The Transformation of the Plantation Household