If you saw the movie Lincoln, you learned that the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, banning slavery in the United States, was approved by the House of Representatives on Jan. 31, 1865.
Immediately after the U.S. House passed the Thirteenth Amendment on January 31, 1865, Senator Lyman Trumbull telegraphed Governor Richard J. Oglesby of Illinois urging him to ensure that President Lincoln’s home state was the first to ratify the historic proposal. The next day at noon, Governor Oglesby forwarded the news to the state legislature, along with his directive that the Thirteenth Amendment “is just, it is humane” and should be approved “now.” By 4:30 that afternoon, February 1, large majorities in both state chambers had ratified the Thirteenth Amendment.
Illinois was in such a hurry to be first that it began to take action before Lincoln had even signed the amendment, on Feb. 1. The president was appreciative, reading Illinois’s proclamation aloud that very night.
Governor Richard J. Oglesby telegraphed the news to Lincoln at 7:25 that evening, informing him: “[T]he Legislature has by a large majority ratified the amendment to the Constitution. All suppose you had signed the Joint resolution of Congress. Great enthusiasm” (Oglesby to Lincoln, February 1, 1865, AL Papers at the Library of Congress). Five minutes later, Ward H. Lamon, the president’s old law partner, and Edward L. Baker, editor of the Illinois State Journal, relayed the same news. The amendment had passed, they exclaimed triumphantly, “with a great hurrah” (Lamon and Baker to Lincoln, February 1, 1865, AL Papers at the Library of Congress).