Washington, D.C. – House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) spoke today at on the 150th Anniversary of the ratification of the 13th Amendment.

Full remarks are below, or watch online here.

“The words of our founders are unmistakable. All people are ‘endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’ Yet for years—for decades—African-Americans were forced to live in this country as if those words did not apply to everyone. 

“The ratification of the 13th Amendment was the most significant act in our history since our founding. It stands as a marker where America decided it would strive to live out the universal ideals of our nation instead of accepting the wrongs of our past.

“Our country stood up and demanded that slavery should exist no more. Hundreds of thousands died to allow this amendment to pass. And in the years and generations that followed, more fought to ensure that African-Americans would be treated with the same respect and guaranteed the same rights as everyone in this country. 

“Today, we will join together remembering this great moment of freedom. May we all emulate the courage of those in the past and continue to fight for the dignity and rights to make this a more perfect union.”