The Artifact Gallery was made possible by a generous gift from the William T. Kemper Foundation – Commerce Bank, Trustee.
This ink on vellum document signed by the members of Missouri’s 1865 Constitutional Convention enacted the immediate emancipation of all enslaved people in Missouri. It was signed on January 11, 1865, three weeks before the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which ended slavery, was even proposed.Led by Charles Drake, the Radical Republicans who made up the majority of the state convention’s delegates passed the vote for emancipation almost unanimously. However, the state convention did not give the right to vote to any of the more than 100,000 slaves freed in Missouri. Although the state convention’s delegates believed strongly in emancipation, they did not necessarily believe in equality.