The Reconstruction Era To what extent did the 13th and 14th amendment socially and politically change the aspects of life on African Americans?

Efforts during the Reconstruction period were made in order to try and help African Americans have equal rights after the Civil War. On January 31, 1865, the 13th amendment was passed by Congress. The 13th amendment abolished slavery and involuntary servitude in the United States. On July 28, 1868, the 14th amendment to the United States was ratified. Moreover, the 14th amendment granted citizenship to all who were born or naturalized in the United States, including former slaves who have been freed after the Civil War. As a result, the Southern leaders that were all for slavery did not have the power to get involved in the political office. However, the Southerners slowly started to regain their power in the Southern government and they started to fight back against the Reconstruction period because they opposed it. Although the 13th and 14th amendments potentially and beneficially changed the aspects of life on African Americans, it also negatively impacted them due to radical hate groups such as the KKK and the White League.

The ratification of the 13th Amendment was ultimately a successful turning point during the Reconstruction era because it abolished slavery in the United States. This was a huge turning point because African American slaves who have been slaves their whole life, had an opportunity to gain freedom and break free from the white supremacists. Adding on, the 13th Amendment was intended to speak out to white supremacists that slavery was inhumane and there needed to be a stop on slavery. The purpose of the 13th Amendment which was succeeded during the Reconstruction period, was to establish political equality for all Americans, primarily the African Americans. Although segregation still existed for a while, the 13th Amendment was the first big step towards equality and rights for African Americans.

The Reconstruction period ultimately failed to succeed by 1877 due to radical hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan also known as the KKK and the White League. The KKK and the White League were white supremacists who opposed Reconstruction and terrorized African Americans in the South. These groups were created because they wanted to have power over the African Americans. Also, the KKK and the White League portrayed the amount of efforts and hatred they had on African Americans by causing violence. These radical hate groups strongly believed in slavery and they thought that whites were superior.

The 14th Amendment is a legacy of the Reconstruction era because this amendment still exists today. Before the 14th Amendment, African Americans were not considered citizens of the United States and they were rather portrayed as property. However, the creation of the 14th Amendment guaranteed citizenship and equal civil and legal rights for African Americans. The main purpose of the 14th Amendment was to grant legal protection to freed African American slaves and to prevent the southern states from violating their civil rights. Overall, the 14th Amendment still applies in the Constitution of the United States today and the establishment of this amendment has lead people to view African Americans differently and positively.

In conclusion, the 13th and 14th Amendments were established during the Reconstruction era in order to bring equality and justice for African Americans. To add on to that, the 15th Amendment was ratified during the Reconstruction period. The 15th Amendment granted African American men the right to vote and the importance of the 15th Amendment was that no men, including African Americans, shall be denied or abridged from voting in the United States. The 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments were passed to ensure equality towards African Americans. However, the formation of radical hate groups like the KKK and the White League made it difficult for African Americans to have fair treatment. Although these Amendments increased the amount of equality the African Americans received, the overall treatment they got was still filled with hatred and disrespect by southerners who strongly believed in white supremacy.

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Corrine Kim

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