Reconstruction Revolution Essay

708 WordsMay 4, 20093 Pages
During the years from 1860 to 1877, the epitome of a revolution was never more clearly displayed, as almost a century of government and society was transformed in only seventeen years. The antecedent that sparked this metamorphosis was the Civil War, which resulted in drastic changes in the federal government and Constitution, which in turn, completely changed society. From 1865 through the close of the decade, Congress passed three major amendments to the Constitution. The first one passed, the Thirteenth Amendment, abolished all slavery from the United States. This was significant, in that this was not just another small compromise to control slavery. Instead, it took an unprecedented step (in the history of the U.S.), and rid the country of its practice entirely. The passage of the Fourteenth Amendment was a double whammy… or more correctly, a quadruple whammy. This amendment completely redefined the meaning of citizenship, a very fundamental concept, to include everyone born or naturalized in the United States. It for the first time set a penalty for any state that denied anyone their right to vote. The penalty was that the states that refused suffrage to any male citizen would have their representation in congress reduced proportionally. The amendment also kept all those who held office before the war that had supported the Confederacy from holding office again. This amendment also stated that the United States would not pay any of the Confederate debt incurred during the war. In February of 1869, the Fifteenth Amendment was passed which made it completely unconstitutional for a state to deny anyone of their right to vote based upon color, race, or previous slave status. All of these amendments changed very basic and key principles of our Constitution. In Document F, Senator Morrill of Maine summarizes it beautifully in this statement: “we have revolutionized

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