Amendment 13

"Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation."

The thirteenth amendment was adopted in 1865. It was the final and official end to the conflict started with the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 when Lincoln freed the slaves in all the states that seceded from the Union. Because the states had seceded they didn't believe Lincoln had the power to free the slaves and never acknowledged the Emancipation Proclamation. The Emancipation Proclamation also didn't say anything against the slave states that didn't secede. This amendment fixed that problem. However it also neglected to solve issues concerning rights of the newly freed slaves.

Amendment 14


"Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Section 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.
Section 3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.
Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.
Section 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article."

The fourteenth amendment was adopted in 1868. It provided the first clear definition of citizenship, a citizen was someone either born in the United States or was Naturalized. This extended citizenship to African Americans and thereby gave them the rights any other citizen was entitled to such as right to trial by peers. It also added a restriction to prevent confederate leaders from holding public offices.

Amendment 15



"Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation."

The fifteenth amendment was adopted in 1870. It outlawed restrictions on suffrage based on race. However it failed to do anything to remove restrictions such as literacy tests. This failure to remove all restrictions provided a loophole that would be exploited by most southerners and some northerners up until the 1960's. Because African Americans had been denied proper education for all of American History a simple literacy test would initially keep any newly freed African Americans from voting. Later on when more education had been provided, tests would be unevenly given so that African Americans would receive harder tests.