"All men are created equal"
Abolitionism is defined as a movement to end the African slave trade and set slaves free. After the American Revolution, when the United States had been established, northern states, beginning with Pennsylvania in 1780, passed legislation during the next two decades abolishing slavery. In 1807, as president, Thomas Jefferson signed the Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves. In 1808, the United States criminalized the international slave trade. The Abolitionist Movement in North America was led by social reformers, especially William Lloyd Garrison, founder of the American Anti-Slavery Society. In 1863, President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed slaves held in the Confederate states in territory not already under Union Army control. The 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution took effect in December 1865 and finally ended slavery throughout the United States.