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A_Missed_Opportunity - Joseph Wallace Hist 17B Professor...

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Joseph Wallace Hist 17B Professor Majewski 3/1/11 A Missed Opportunity: The Aftermath of the Civil War in America Although the slaves in our country were technically free after the defeat of the Confederacy and the Reconstruction amendments that were passed gave them the right to vote, and in theory become true citizens of the newly united union, Reconstruction was ultimately a failure for African Americans because post war politics favored industry and white southerners while disregarding the needs of the freed people. The effects of the Civil War on the newly emancipated are enormous and complicated. Some are obvious like the 13 th , 14 th , and 15 th amendments. Certainly, the 13 th amendment, which abolished slavery, has had a long-term impact. The 14 th amendment, adopted in 1868, has three clauses: the Citizenship Clause, which overrules the decision that said that blacks could not be citizens of the United States (Dred Scott v. Sandford, 1857). Also in the 14 th is the Due Process Clause, which states that governments cannot deprive persons of life, liberty, or property without due process. The third, the Equal Protection Clause, requires that each state provide equal protection to all people and is the basis for Brown v. the Board of Education in 1954, which integrated our schools and stopped the separate but equal polices of many states
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concerning education. The 15 th , ratified in 1870, prohibits the government from denying a citizen suffrage based on that citizen’s “race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” Less obvious are the motives and methods of the Radical Republicans who came into being before the Civil War, about 1854. This group wanted the abolition of slavery and supported civil rights for the newly, freed slaves. They supported the right to vote and the Reconstruction Acts. After Lincoln was assassinated in 1865 and Andrew Jackson became president, the Radicals gained control of Congress and passed the Reconstruction Acts, which allowed blacks to vote.
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