Although the word slavery does not appear in the body of the Constitution, the “peculiar institution” is alluded to in Article I, sections 2 and 9, and Article 4, section 2. This changed with the adoption of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution:
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.
The Thirteenth Amendment was passed by the Senate in April of 1864 and by the House in January of 1865. It was ratified by the necessary number of states in December of 1865.
Although the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery, it does not apply to the U.S. government.
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The United States declared war on Germany in April of 1917 and declared war on Austria-Hungary in December of 1917. The Selective Service Act of 1917 (enacted in May of 1917) required all males aged 21 to 30 to register with the government in case they were “needed” for military service. The age range was expanded in 1918 to all men aged 18 to 45. Almost three million American men were conscripted into the military by the U.S. government during World War I; that is, they were forced to destroy, maim, and kill for the U.S. government in an unjust foreign war that the United States had no business getting involved in.
In the Selective Draft Law Cases (1918), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that military conscription did not amount to involuntary servitude. Said the Court’s unanimous decision: