7. The Civil War and Reconstruction forced white southerners to redefine the political attributes of their world so that they could become more easily integrated into the United States. But neither the war nor reconstruction erased two long-held traditions:
– passed by Congress in June 1866 and ratified in July 1868 - defined blacks as citizens of the United States, thereby promising them full constitutional protection of their civil rights; prohibited states from depriving “any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law” and guaranteed “to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws;" and denied former Confederates the right to hold office.The ratification of the 13th Amendment was a major victory for the North where it was hoped that both the Emancipation Proclamation and the new amendment would quickly diminish the effects of slavery. However, as the Southern states began to pass a variety of Black Codes, it was clear that a new way of controlling ex-slaves, characterized by violence and cruelty, had been created. Consequently, Congress passed the 14th Amendment. Implemented and enforced by the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
– passed by Congress Feb. 1869 and ratified in March 1870 - prohibited the denial of the vote because of race, color, or previous condition of servitude; defined national citizenship to include former slaves; prohibited states from violating privileges of citizens without due process of law; empowered Congress to reduce representation of any state that denied vote to males over 21; and disqualified from state and national offices all prewar office holders who had supported the Confederacy. The last of the Reconstruction Amendments, the 15th Amendment was designed to close the last loophole in creating real civil rights for newly-freed black slaves. In the election of 1868, Republicans received overwhelming majorities in House and Senate. With such strength, in 1869 they passed the Fifteenth Amendment. Implemented and enforced by the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
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