The Last Word | February 18, 2013
>>> we need two yes's, four yes's and one more abstension, and the amendment will past.
>> you have night and day , perfectly good hours, get the hell out of here and get them.
>> yes, but how?
>> i am the president of the united states of america . clothed in i mmense power, you will procure me these votes.
>> that count daniel day -lewis's sure to be oscar winner portrayal, lincoln's pushing for the passage of the amendment abolishing slavery. it had to be approved by 3/4 of the states, something that mississippi didn't get around to. a person in mississippi went to see the movie, and wondered about mississippi 's role in ratifying the amendment , only to discover they had not officially ratified the amendment abolishing slavery. the two men who got mississippi to move to the right, joining me. dr. buttra, you went to the movie, as i understand it. you came out wondering what was mississippi 's role in ratifying the 13th amendment . and what did you discover?
>> i discovered much to my surprise that o -- well, the first surprise was that mississippi had not actually ratified it. the legislature had not ratified it until 1995 . which was you know a century and a quarter after the bill became law. but i was glad they ratified it. but then, much to my surprise i found out that even then it was not official, because that information had not been transmitted to the national archives . so in point of fact, we still were not on the books as having ratified the 13th amendment in abolishing slavery.
>> and ken sullivan, how did you get involved?
>> did batra approached me in the hallway and had a question one morning and asked me about this amendment and if i knew it had never been ratified by mississippi . and i said, well, i believe it was ratified in 1995 . i was a senior in high school here in mississippi . and i remembered a lot of coverage on that on the news at that time. and so he said well why don't you look into it and see what you can find. and so i began to do some research, and actually found the same thing that he had. and i called the national archives , read the constitution and saw what it took in the constitution to get an amendment ratified. had a lot of help from rod ralss who works at the national archive , and through that information i found out we had not filed it. and then i went to our state capitol and retrieved a copy of the 1995 legislation where the last paragraph read, specifically as the constitution and how to proceed in ratifying an amendment . and it required the secretary of state to transit that documentation to washington.
>> yes, my role was finding the right person to do the work. turns out if i had gone down to the state archives and tried to look for this document, it may have taken me a year. and he had the connections. his father knew someone who had actually written the bill, is that right?
>> i believe so.
>> the bill for ratification in the bill for mississippi . all ken had to do was go down there and pick up his copy of the bill.
>> and ken, what was your sense as to why after being voted on 139 years later in 1995 , the mississippi legislature votes on it. why did the state of mississippi never pass it onto washington for the official finality?
>> you know there could be a lot of speculation to that. he may not have received it. it is my understanding, from what i have researched, that that resolution was passed in what they call a block vote . there were several resolutions blocked together that was read in whole. and the senate just did a voice vote . and that block of resolutions passed. so in that block of resolutions it could have been just gotten shuffled to the bottom and never found. it could have -- it could have been understood that it was completed. that the legislature had voted on it. whatever happened, i have no idea. it would be total speculation.
>> well --
>> and the surprise here is the fellow at usconstitution.net that somehow figured out that figured out it wasn't in full ratification.
>> we're so glad you saw that movie and you and dr. batra, mississippi shows you a debt of gratitude for your service to the state.
>> thank you.
>> "the ed show" is up next.
>>> good evening, americans, and welcome