Define and discuss the purpose of the 14th and 15th Amendments? How successful were these Amendments? Specifically, address the safety of African Americans during the reconstruction? How did the Compromise of 1877 affect the South for future decades?
Volume I, Chapter 12, pages 299-323 &
Chapter 13, pages 324 -345
The Fourteenth Amendment changed the Constitution by compelling states to accept their residents as citizens and to guarantee that their rights as citizens would be safeguarded. Its first section guaranteed citizenship to every person born in the United States. This included virtually every black person. It made each person a citizen of the state in which he or she resided. It defined the specific rights of citizens and protected those rights against the authority of state governments. Citizens had the right to due process (usually a trial) before they could lose their life, liberty, or property.
The Fourteenth Amendment vested African Americans with the same rights of citizenship other Americans possessed. The amendment also threatened to deprive states of representation in Congress if they denied black men the vote. The amendment mandated that if any state—northern or southern—did not allow adult male citizens to vote, then the number of representatives it was entitled to in Congress would be reduced in proportion to the number of men denied the right to vote.
Black politicians were often the victims of racial discrimination when they tried to use public transportation and accommodations such as hotels and restaurants.
The Fifteenth Amendment, which was ratified in 1870. It stipulated that a person could not be deprived of the right to vote because of race: “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.” Black people, abolitionists, and reformers hailed the amendment as the culmination of the...
Cited: from Darlene Hine, William Hine, and Stanley Harrold. The African-American Odyssey: Volume I, 5th ed. New Jersey: Pearson 2011
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