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The Constitution and Suffrage

Jefferson and the Election of 1800

Contested Elections and the
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America at Mid-Century

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Women Get the Vote

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A New Deal for Workers

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The Promised Land

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1.05 Civil War

Following the Emancipation Proclamation, African-Americans enlisted in the Union Army to participate in their own liberation and strengthen their claims for citizenship and equality, circa 1863

The Civil War began as a war to preserve or divide the Union. At its end four years later slavery was abolished and citizenship and voting rights were redefined. Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, the flight of slaves behind Union Army lines, and the adoption of the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in December 1865 abolished slavery forever.

Andrew Johnson, Lincoln's Democratic successor, accepted the end of slavery but allowed white supremacists to regain control over the defeated southern states. These early postwar governments suppressed the liberties of African Americans and allowed groups like the Ku Klux Klan to terrorize them.

Republicans who sought to transform the South came to power in Congress in 1866 and gained an ally when Ulysses Grant was elected president in 1868. They expanded people's rights through the Fourteenth Amendment (1868), which granted citizenship to all people, including former slaves, born or naturalized in the United States. Through congressional legislation and ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment, African American men gained the right to vote. Sixteen black Americans were elected to Congress and hundreds held local offices across the South.

Many white southerners rebelled, instigating a reign of terror to prevent blacks from exercising their newly won voting rights. President Grant dispatched federal troops to southern states in 1871 to restore order and protect the rights of African Americans and white Republicans from attacks by white supremacists.

The First Vote, an engraving based on a sketch by Alfred R. Waud, 1867.
Washington, D.C. The New Administration Colored Citizens Paying their Respects to Frederick Douglass, in His Office at the City Hall, April 1877.


























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