Civil rights has a much narrower definition being

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civil rights has a much narrower definition, being those rights specifically ascribed to citizens by governments. This entry examines the evolution of civil rights in the United States and how they have impacted Arkansans since the Civil War. Its particular focus is on how civil rights and citizenship were expanded through the social changes that occurred in the period.
Civil War through ReconstructionAt the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, civil rights were largely defined by the Bill of Rights, the first tenamendments added to the U.S. Constitution in 1791. These granted specific personal freedoms and limited the power of federal government over individuals. Crucially, the question of what it meant to be a citizen of the United States—an important factor in determining who possessed civil rights—was still ill-defined. Certain groups were specifically excluded from citizenship. African-American slaves were considered property rather than people. Most Native Americans were also not considered citizens of the United States. Whether women’s rights were guaranteed under the Constitution was a hotly debated topic.Much of the modern concept of civil rights stems from the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution, often referred to collectively as the Reconstruction or Civil Rights Amendments. The Thirteenth Amendment (ratified in 1865) outlawed slavery in the United States. The Fourteenth Amendment (ratified in 1868) guaranteed that no state could “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law” and assured “equal protection of the laws.” It also for the first time defined U.S. citizenship as encompassing “all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof.” The Fifteenth Amendment (ratified in 1870) guaranteed the right to vote without “account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”The primary aim of the Reconstruction Amendments was to ensure the civil rights of freed slaves, of which there were an estimated 110,000 in Arkansas. One of the earliest efforts to manage the transition from slavery to freedom, and to help African Americans to exercise their newfound rights, was the creation of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands (a.k.a. Freedmen’s Bureau) in 1865.A number of African Americans won prominent political positions during Reconstruction through the right to participate in politics. William Hines Furbush was elected to the Arkansas General Assembly. Isaac Taylor Gillam was elected to the city council of Little Rock (Pulaski County), the Arkansas General Assembly, and as Pulaski County coroner. Prominent lawyer Miffiln Wistar Gibbs was appointed as a LittleRock police judge. Ferdinand Havis was elected as a Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) alderman, state representative, assessor, and county clerk. Joseph Carter Corbin served as Arkansas’s superintendent of public instruction.

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