No discussion about the Reconstruction Era can truly begin without discussing the landmark pieces of legislation that were born during this time. Together these pieces defined the role of the African Americans in society, especially in the South. Popularly known as the Reconstruction Amendments the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth amendments were adopted between 1865 and 1870. These amendments began the process of Southern reconstruction. The Thirteenth amendment (1865) abolished slavery. The Fourteenth amendment (1868) addresses the rights of citizens as well as ensuring equal protection under the law. Among the provisions of the Fourteenth amendment was the Due Process clause which protects citizens from arbitrary denial of life,...
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...to succeed where, ultimately, the Reconstruction efforts failed. The people were unified. They all fought for a common cause. Reconstruction, in contrast, existed simply as a continuation of the Civil War. Each side still fought for what they believed in, and untold acts of terror were propagated upon the peoples of this nation. This doesn’t cheapen the gains made by the African American population. What they did achieve was monumental. Radical legislation was created which gave a once enslaved people the chance at true freedom. They simply did not have enough support. But like a snowball atop a mountain, all it takes is a little bit of a push to get it rolling. Eventually, the force will become unstoppable and change will occur. Reconstruction may be perceived as a second Revolution but, alas, it was not. Reconstruction was the spark, an attempt at a new beginning.
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