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The Thirteenth Amendment Enforcement Authority, Alexander Tsesis Feb 2005

The Thirteenth Amendment Enforcement Authority, Alexander Tsesis

University of Pittsburgh School of Law Working Paper Series

In the paper, I argue that the Thirteenth Amendment's enforcement clause grants Congress the power to enact statutes to protect liberty. I trace the American concept of liberty, using archival research, through the writings of the revolutionary framers and abolitionists. I believe that the Thirty-Eighth Congress, 1864-1865, intended the Thirteenth Amendment to provide the power to enforce the Declaration of Independence's and Preamble's guarantees of equal liberty. The paper also places the enforcement clause of the Thirteenth Amendment into the contemporary setting of recent decisions on the Fourteenth Amendment and the Commerce Clause.