The Post-Civil War Atmosphere
Week 11 Assignment
13th, 14th, and 15th Amendment
- Ratified by 3/4 of states on December 6, 1865, the 13th amendment to the Constitution outlawed slavery in the United States.
- Prior to this amendment, Congress consistently passed bills to protect slavery.
- The Fourteenth Amendment to the constitution was ratified on July 9, 1868.
- This amendment was first intended to secure the rights of former slaves but has since branched off to include other groups such as senior citizens, women, children, and people with disabilities and is the center of Equality in America.
- The 15th Amendment was written to protect the right of citizens to be able to vote, regardless of their race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
- However, it did not allow women the right to vote, which upset them greatly
- President Johnson's actions encouraged former Confederates to adopt laws limiting the freedom of former slaves
- These Black Codes closely resembles pre-Civil War slave codes
- The Black Codes varied from state to state, but all aimed to prevent African Americans from achieving social, political, and economic equality with southern whites.
- They re-established white control over African American labor
Civil Rights Act of 1866
- It was a federal law from the United States Congress that was largely intended to protect civil rights of all the African-American peoples, in the context of American Civil War.
- The first civil rights law in the nation's history
- Congress passed it furious with the president
- Declared everyone born in the United States was a citizen with full civil rights
- Did not guarantee voting rights, however
“The Radicals Come to Power”
- President Johnson tried to make the 14th amendment an issue in the 1866 congressional elections
- Calling the Radical Republicans traitors, he campaigned throughout the Midwest in support of candidates who opposed the amendment
- Many people felt deeply troubled by the ongoing violence against African Americans
- Race riots were becoming increasingly common in the South
- Such violence made President Johnson's call for leniency toward the southern rebels seem particularly absurd
- Although the issue had previously divided their party, Republicans quickly decided that African Americans must have the vote
- Reconstruction Acts of 1867 divided the former Confederacy - with the exception of already-reconstructed Tennessee - into five military districts
- Union army troops were stationed in each district to enforce order
- To gain readmission to the Union, states were required to ratify the Fourteenth Amendment as well as submit to Congress new constitutions guaranteeing all men the vote
- The act further required that African Americans be allowed to vote for delegates to the state constitutional conventions as well as to serve as delegates