Encyclopedia

Brandon Schmitz

Civil Rights Amendments

Amendment 13: Abolition of Slavery

Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction. Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce these article by appropriate legislation.

Amendment 14: Civil Rights

The amendment required states to extend equal citizenship to African Americans and all people "born or naturalized in the United States." It also denied states the right to deprive anyone of "life, liberty, or property without due process of law." It promised all citizens the "equal protection of the laws."

Amendment 15: Black Suffrage

It stated, "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude." It failed to guarantee African Americans the right to hold office. It also did not prevent states from limiting the voting rights of African Americans through discriminatory requirements.


Plans For Reconstruction

President Lincoln's plan: He wanted to bring rebel states back into the Union quickly. He did not go to war to tear apart the South, but to preserve the Union. To get the South the to leave the Confederacy, he issued the Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction on December 8, 1863. The proclamation offered full pardon to all southerners , except the high ranking Confederate leaders. The proclamation also permitted a state to rejoin the Union when 10 percent of its residents who had voted in 1860 swore their loyalty to the nation.

Congress: The Congress did not agree with President Lincoln. They then came up with the Wade Davis Bill, passed in July 1864. The bill called for the Confederate states to abolish slavery and to delay Reconstruction until a majority of each state's while males took a loyalty oath. Lincoln vetoed the bill because he was not ready to be inflexible committed to any single plan of restoration.

President Johnson: Johnson took over after Lincoln's death. He lacked everything Lincoln had except war experience. In may 1865 he issued a complete pardon to all rebels except former Confederate officeholders and the richest planters. He pardoned these people on an individual basis. For readmission to the Union, his plan required only that they nullify their acts of secession, abolish slavery, and refuse to pay Confederate government debts. Southerners like Johnson's plan because it allowed the Confederate leaders to take charge of the Reconstruction.

Black Codes

The Black Codes varied from state to state. But, each Black Code aimed to prevent African Americans form achieving social, political, and economic equality with southern unless whites were present. The code forbade them to travel without permits, own guns, attend schools with whites, or serve on juries. Most importantly they re-established white control over African American labor. Black Codes also allowed judges to decide whether African American parents could support their children. Other codes required African Americans to obtain a special license to work in a skilled profession. Many African Americans felt that they had to accept the codes in order to survive.

Racism and Discrimination Against African Americans

Voting Rights: Before the 15th Amendment only white males were able to vote. After the Amendment any citizen was able to vote.

Klu Klux klan: Was founded in 1866 by six former Confederates. the organization grew quickly, attracting planters, lawyers, and other professionals. The head of the Klan was Nathan Bedford Forrest, a former slave trader and Confederate general. They intended to keep African Americans from voting , and to frighten African American legislators and leaders, both white and black. The Klan also attacked African Americans who voted for Republican candidates. African Americans fought back by burning down barns. They were able to recognized their tormentors by voices and other physical characteristics. The African Americans demanded that congress respond and they did in 1870 and 187 by passing legislation designed to stop violence against African Americans. These were called the Enforcement Acts.

Reconstruction Ends

The Civil Rights Act of 1875 officially ended the Reconstruction. This bill prohibited businesses that served the public, such as hotels and transportation facilities, form discriminating against African Americans.