*Missing* 13th Amendment?

My nephew sent me the following link:[ul]The Missing 13th Amendment[/ul]Essentially, it says that there was a 13th amendment to the constitution that was ratified, and made it illegal for lawyers to serve in elected office. It goes on to explain (in far-right-wing rhetoric) why this amendment was swept under the rug during the Civil War period. Although I am politically conservative, I have no desire to proclaim something as truth when it smells as much like BS as this thing does.

My question is this: Is this (despite the rhetoric) remotely based in truth or is it a fabrication from whole cloth? I suspect it’s based in truth but spun so tightly I can’t tell what part(s), if any, might be. If it’s false, can someone provide a calm, logical deconstruction of this thing? Is there a site that’s already done so? I’d like to be able to tell my nephew the facts of the matter, and would like to have something more to say than “This is hate speech” or some similarly weak argument.

Please assist. Let cool logic prevail.


Where is Oliver Stone when you need him?!

  1. Why in the world would a copy of the U.S. Constitution be laying around in the Belfast library? I think the govt would have made sure they had all copies. Especially if there was to be a cover-up of this scale.

  2. If there was a 13th Amendment, it is only the interpretation of Dodge and Dunn that it means lawyers. Check out index item #2. It shows the text of this alleged amendment. Those barred from holding office are those holding titles of nobility. Now, I guess you could argue esq. but the text specifically lists titles received from “emperor, king, prince, or foreign power.”

  3. One piece of historical support given is the U.S. Constitution, Art 1, Sections 9 & 10. The author claims that these prohibit titles of nobility, when actually, they only prohibit the granting of such titles by the fed or state govts. Section 9 requires office holders to receive permission for accepting the titles, but never outlaws them.

not an exhaustive deconstruction, but a couple basic ideas which lead me to believe it’s crap. :slight_smile:


Well, since there is already such a section in the Consitution, I cannot see how this admendment would have made any difference. 1st, “esquire” is not a title of nobility. 2nd, you do not need 'esquire" to be a Lawyer. 3rd it only bans us from accepting titles from foriegn gov’t, so you can be a Knight “templar” of the Masons, or of many other “fraternal” org, without violating this rule (in fact, after the Civil war, nearly every gentleman belonged to some frateranl org or other, and many had “knighthoods”.) 4th, US lawyers do not, and were not then, accredited by an “international bar assoc”, but by a State bar assoc. If you were now accredited by an “international bar assoc” you could not practice in any State.

Remember, the admendment only banned titles & honors from foreign gov’t. The USA and its states can hand out all the “honors & titles” it wants, and it does, such as General, Ambassador, Consul, etc tec.

So, even if there were any such admendment, it would only punish such men as General Swartzkoff (sp?), who, with the permission of congress, was awarded several “honors”, such as a knighthood, Legion of Merit, and etc. Lawyers would be able to practice all they want, and even call themselves 'esq".

So, yes, 100% meaningless BS.

I don’t know if it qualifies as nobility, but esquire was also the title just below knight.

regardless- this amendment stuff is urban legend- help your nephew dispel this scary myth


It’s not exactly urban legend–just a different interpretation. Check out Jol A. Silversmith’s version.