What does “ratification” in the US mean and why is it necessary?


I'm researching slavery and I read, "The House passed the measure in January 1865 and it was sent to the states for ratification. When Georgia ratified it on December 6, 1865, the institution of slavery officially ceased to exist in the United States."

Source: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/13th-amendment-ratified

My questions are these:

  1. What is ratification? I read some material and my understanding of ratification in this context is when the state legislature of Georgia agreed to the 13th Amendment law/bill and got its governor to sign a bill or law making it official (we see videos and photos of US presidents doing this all the time). Is this correct or is it something different?
  2. Why did the US need to spend 11 months/nearly a year to get Georgia to ratify the 13th Amendment into law? Couldn't they have just had their congressmen in Washington agree to it and then have Lincoln sign the bill? Because Congress agreed to it on January 31, 1865 already (Senate-April 8, 1864 and House of Representatives-January 31, 1865). Why did it need to be sent to the states?

Source: reddit post


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here