Cornell Style Notes for Reconstruction Amendments (13th, 14th, 15th)

Cornell Notes
Topic: ​Reconstruction
ESSENTIAL QUESTION: What are the basic provisions of the Reconstruction Amendments (13th,
14th, 15th Amendments)?
Questions/Important Stuff:
The Reconstruction Amendments are the 13th, 14th, and 15th
Amendments to the Constitution.
The 13th Amendment was ratified in December of 1865 and its
purpose was to end slavery.
This meant the people could no longer treat other people as
property. Most southern states ratified the 13th Amendment
because they had to do so to rejoin the United States.
14th Amendment
The 14th Amendment was ratified in 1868.
The purpose of the 14th Amendment was to make all persons
born or naturalized in the United States citizens of the U.S. and
the state in which they lived. “Citizenship” means ​being a member of a country and state and having rights because of that membership.​ Before the Civil War, the Supreme Court had ruled
in the “​Dred Scott” ​case that slaves and descendents of slaves
could not be citizens of the United States, so the Constitution
had to be amended.
The 14th Amendment also said citizens were given equal
protection under the law and could not be deprived of life,
liberty, or property without due process of law. “Due process of
law” means that a person is given all their rights under the law,
After the 13th Amendment was ratified, the southern states
could not no long enforce their slave codes, so they enacted
“Black Codes”. The Black Codes meant:
● African Americans could be forced to work for whites
● There were different punishments for African-Americans
and whites
African-Americans were restricted in where they could
Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1866 (over President
Johnson’s veto) to overturn the Black Codes, but many were
concerned that the Supreme Court would find the Act
unconstitutional. The 14th Amendment was necessary to
prevent this.
Native Americans did not become citizens because they were
considered “sovereign nations” and thus not part of the United
15th Amendment:
15th Amendment was ratified in 1870. It said the states could
not deny any citizen the right to vote because of race or color,
or previous involuntary servitude.
The Civil Rights Act of 1866 and the 14th Amendment did not
address the right to vote. The Radical Republicans felt that
another Amendment was necessary to protect the rights of
“citizens” to vote.
Native Americans were not citizens, they did not get the right to
vote. Because the 15th Amendment did not address denial of
the right to vote based upon gender (male or female), it did not
give women the right to vote.
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