The era from 1860 to 1877 was a time of reconstruction and revolution in America. Many constitutional developments aided the reform movement, such as the ratification of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments, which granted African Americans voting and civil rights. Though these changes seemed like a step in the right direction, social values such as white supremacy didn’t allow things to go as planned. Despite the fact that African Americans were granted rights on paper, they still weren’t treated equally. Actions of violence from the Ku Klux Klan threatened African Americans. Although slavery was considered abolished, people became partially enslaves due to the Mississippi Black Codes and sharecropping.
During reconstruction there were many changes within the laws that granted African Americans rights that they hadn’t previously had. In 1865, many American citizens of African descent claimed that if they were able to be drafted, then they should have the right to vote as well (Doc. C). Soon after, the Civil Rights Act of 1866 provided citizenship to all former slaves and gave them equal rights, equal adherence to laws and rights to protect property. This was by far one of the most revolutionary transitions for slaves because it was a change in legislation (Doc. F). Furthermore, the addition of three new amendments also tremendously changed the lives of African Americans. The 13th amendment abolished slavery, the 14th amendment granted black people citizenship and equal protection of the laws, and the 15th amendment presented universal suffrage. The first black man was reported voting on November 16, 1867 (Doc. G). In addition, the Force Act of 1870 also helped to reinforce the idea that former slaves were to be treated with respect. Anyone who acted against them, specifically forbidding African Americans to vote by threatening them, would be seen as guilty of felony....
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