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Vocabulary in Resolution Submitting the Thirteenth Amendment to the States

Legal Definitions and Nuanced Meaning: As is often the case with legal documents, the diction used is very explicit in order to avoid misunderstandings and misapplications of the law. The resolution and text of the Thirteenth Amendment follow this style, clearly stipulating the conditions under which an amendment can become law, as well as the meaning of the law and how it will be enforced.

Vocabulary Examples in Resolution Submitting the Thirteenth Amendment to the States:

Text of the Resolution and the Thirteenth Amendment

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"jurisdiction..."   (Text of the Resolution and the Thirteenth Amendment)

The noun “jurisdiction” refers to an authority’s power to administer justice, or exercise its legal authority. An entity’s jurisdiction also refers to the extent or range of its administrative power. In this resolution, section one stipulates that slavery and involuntary servitude are illegal in the United States and any location where the United States has authority to administer justice.

"slavery nor involuntary servitude..."   (Text of the Resolution and the Thirteenth Amendment)

Generally, the distinctions between “slavery” and “involuntary servitude” are not readily apparent. However, when considered in the context of legal punishment and prison labor, the differences become more clear. A traditional definition of slavery means that the status was not only permanent, but also inheritable from a parent. For prisoners, their terms of involuntary servitude are not always for life, meaning that even if their sentence appears the same as slavery, it is not necessarily perpetual. The duration of their status marks the distinction.

"ratified..."   (Text of the Resolution and the Thirteenth Amendment)

The noun “ratification” and the verb “to ratify” refer to the process of confirmation, or of providing formal approval, sanction, or endorsement for a process. The word choice emphasizes the process the Congress and state legislatures have to go through in order to amend the Constitution of the United States.

"concurring..."   (Text of the Resolution and the Thirteenth Amendment)

The participle “concurring” derives from the verb “to concur,” which means to agree, approve, or act together towards a common end or particular effect. In this case, the word incorporates all meanings, as both houses of Congress require their respective two-thirds to agree upon, approve, and support the resolution.

"Resolution..."   (Text of the Resolution and the Thirteenth Amendment)

Generally, the noun “resolution” refers to determination, a formal declaration, a removal of doubt, or a statement of intent. Its use in this text follows this broad definition but also incorporates the legal use of the word: a formal expression of intent issued by an authoritative, official body, such as the United States Congress.

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