The Mystery of the Original Proposed Thirteenth Amendment is without a doubt one of the most amazing stories in the history of America. In 1810 Congress voted 87-3 in the House and 26 to 1 in the Senate in favor of an Amendment that would punish elected officials that accepted money in exchange for political favors. There were 17 states in the Union at that time and 13 of them would need to ratify the amendment in order for it to become lawfully ratified. Virginia became the 13th state to ratify and the new Amendment began to be published along with previously adopted amendments along with the Constitution. In the early 1860's the Amendment disappeared and was replaced by a new Thirteenth Amendment.
Passed by Congress May 1, 1810
"If any citizen of the United States shall accept, claim, receive, or retain
any title of nobility or honour, or shall without the consent of Congress, accept
and retain any present, pension, office, or emolument of any kind whatever,
to be a citizen of the united States, and shall be incapable of holding
any office of trust or profit under them, or either of them."
Ratification of the Original 13th Amendment
Proposal and rationale
The United States Senate approved the measure by a vote of 19–5 on April 27, 1810. It was then adopted by the United States House of Representatives with a vote of 87–3 on May 1, 1810. After its passage in the Congress, the amendment was presented to the state legislatures for ratification, as prescribed by Article V of the Constitution.
If adopted, the amendment would expand upon Article I, Section 9 and Section 10 of the Constitution, which prohibits the states and the federal government from issuing titles of nobility or honor.
There is speculation that the Congress proposed the amendment in response to the 1803 marriage of Napoleon Bonaparte's younger brother, Jerome, and Betsy Patterson of Baltimore, Maryland, who gave birth to a boy for whom she wanted aristocratic recognition from France.
The child, named Jérôme Napoleon Bonaparte, was not born in the United States, but in Great Britain on July 7, 1805—nevertheless, he would have held U.S. citizenship through his mother.
Another theory is that his mother actually desired a title of nobility for herself and, indeed, she is referred to as the "Duchess of Baltimore" in many texts written about the amendment.
The marriage had been annulled in 1805—well before the amendment's proposal by the 11th Congress.
Nonetheless, Representative Nathaniel Macon of North Carolina is recorded to have said, when voting on the amendment, that "he considered the vote on this question as deciding whether or not we were to have members of the Legion of Honor in this country."
Reaction in the state legislatures
This amendment was ratified by the 13th state legislatures on December 9, 1812
1. Maryland (December 25, 1810)
2. Kentucky (January 31, 1811)
3. Ohio (January 31, 1811)
4. Delaware (February 2, 1811)
5. Pennsylvania (February 6, 1811)
6. New Jersey (February 13, 1811)
7. Vermont (October 24, 1811)
8. Tennessee (November 21, 1811)
9. North Carolina (December 23, 1811)
10.Georgia (December 31, 1811)
11.Virginia (February 7, 1812) also (March 12, 1819)
12.Massachusetts (February 27, 1812)
13.New Hampshire (December 9, 1812)
The amendment was rejected by three state legislatures:
1.New York (March 12, 1812)
2.Connecticut (May 13, 1813)
3.Rhode Island (September 15, 1814) The Real Thirteenth Amendment