APUSH DBQ Essay
The immediate years after the Civil War, 1860-1877, saw the United States through a revolution. Reform movements and changing states of mind among the American people contributed to the revolution with regards to constitutional and social aspects of life at that time. The passage of Civil Rights Legislation such as the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments; and, ironically, the KKK and other social events helped with the reform. Alone these things couldn’t have done much, but all together they led to a revolution in American society.
Constitutionally, the end of the Civil War opened lots of new doors for how to handle the assimilation of African-Americans into the country as freedmen. After the emancipation proclamation and the passage of the 13th amendment, the question of what rights and what limitations, if any, should be imposed on the former slaves. Congress responded with the 14th and 15th amendments, allowing the freedmen citizenship and suffrage. After Lincoln’s assassination and Johnson’s taking up of the presidency, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1866 which protected the civil rights of all citizens as stated in the 14th amendment, this was geared notably toward blacks so state governments couldn’t take their rights away through some obscure loophole.
The complete secession from the union by the southern states immediately prior to the Civil War gave another new opportunity for reform. In order to rejoin the country the south would need to acknowledge the freeing of the slaves and pledge allegiance to the U.S. Once they came back however, Congress would need a new approach to how it deals with issues so as to prevent secession in the future.
Socially speaking, a considerable amount of reform was taking place as well. Once freed slaves were given citizenship and the opportunity to vote, the inner workings of the country would need to be rethought to integrate this new demographic into American...