Abraham Lincoln 13th amendment to lead US history auction

A manuscript copy of the 13th amendment signed by Abraham Lincoln is offered in the Two Centuries of American History sale at Sotheby's.

It will sell on May 25.

Lincoln ammendment Sothebys
The amendment is also signed by 36 senators

The amendment dates to February 1, 1865 and recommends the abolition of slavery in the US. It was ratified in December 1865.

Lincoln never lived to see emancipation.

He was famously assassinated by Confederate sympathiser John Wilkes Booth in April 1865, while he watched a play at Ford's Theatre in Washington.

Lincoln recognised the importance of reconciling the realities of slavery with the ideals of the constitution.

In 1855 he wrote: "Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid.

"As a nation, we began by declaring 'all men are created equal.' We now practically read it 'all men are created equal except negroes.'

"When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read 'all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and catholics [sic].'"

Emancipation did not prove a quick fix. It was not until the mid-1960s that the racist Jim Crow laws were finally repealed in the south.

The present document is also signed by 36 senators and is one of very few surviving manuscript copies of this hugely important amendment.

It's expected to sell for $2m-3m.

Documents associated with big moments during Lincoln's presidency are always very popular with collectors.

In 2009, a handwritten copy of his 1864 electoral victory speech sold for $3.4m.

We have these fragments of wallpaper from his home in Springfield for sale.

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