Figure 3. During the 1863-64 session, Congress received an increasing number of petitions that called specifically for constitutional amendments on various issues. This 1864 petition from western Pennsylvania called for four amendments establishing Christianity as a national religion and the basis of all civil law; almost as an afterthought, it called for a fifth amendment abolishing slavery. Like many emancipation initiatives, the petition was born out of a Christian sense of slavery's immorality. Also, like most nineteenth-century petition drives, this one followed the convention of segregating male and female signatures. (Courtesy National Archives)

the Civil War, rather than established principles concerning slavery and the Constitution, shaped people's understanding and appreciation of the antislavery amendment.

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