The Civil War
During both the civil war and civil war reconstruction time periods, there were many changes going on in the Union. The Emancipation Proclamation, as well as legislation such as the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth amendments, was causing a new awakening of democracy; while the renouncing of secession by the South marked a definite triumph for Nationalism. As well, the government was involved in altercations of its own. During reconstruction, the legislative and executive branches eventually came to blows over the use of power. The nation was being altered by forces which caused, and later repaired, a broken Union.
The first of these "forces", was the expansion of democracy. As early as 1862, Lincoln was taking a major step in that direction. On September 22, Lincoln announced the freeing of all slaves in areas not in Union control. Although the proclamation did not free all slaves everywhere, it was the action that would push Congress to pass the thirteenth amendment in 1865. The amendment, ratified later in 1865, stated that "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude . . . shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction." It seemed democracy had triumphed by giving freedom to slaves, but the amendment was not complete. It only stopped slavery, and made no provisions for citizenship; therefore, blacks were still not considered United States citizens. The fourteenth amendment was the democratic expansion that fixed that problem. Originally passed to "put a number of matters beyond the control or discretion of the president," the amendment also made "All persons born or naturalized in the United States . . . citizens of the United States." It also provided that, "No State shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States." This not only gave new meaning to black men's freedom, but it also gave a new and broader meaning to citizenship. Those drafting...
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