CHICAGO (CBS) — A restored copy of the 13th Amendment signed by President Lincoln has been returned to the state, and will be displayed at the Lincoln Museum next year.
The almost 147-year-old document signifying the end of slavery is made of animal skin, which was creased and wrinkled. Some of the original ink had flaked away.
That made it too fragile to display at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield.
So Graphic Conservation Co. restored the document at no charge to the state, and returned it to museum curator James Cornelius on Thursday.
A constitutional amendment “is the voice of the people and not of the executive branch, yet Lincoln wanted to sign it because he was so proud of it,” Cornelius said.
It will go on display in February.
Illinois’ document is one of at least 14 duplicate copies of the 13th Amendment signed by Lincoln. It also was signed by most lawmakers who voted for it.
The text of the 13th Amendment:
Section 1: Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Section 2: Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
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Illinois was the first state to ratify the amendment on Feb. 1, 1865. The amendment was officially ratified on Dec. 6 of that year.
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