The Reconstruction Era (1863–1877) refers to the period in American history directly following the Civil War.
During this time the United States faced two critical questions that would test its commitment to democratic ideals:
The 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments to the Constitution, all enacted during Reconstruction, were a part of the attempt to answer these questions, and together they laid the groundwork for generations of Americans seeking equal protection under the law.
Many people mistakenly believe that President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation ended slavery in the United States. The proclamation only freed the enslaved in the states that had rebelled against the Union. Approximately one quarter of all enslaved Americans remained in bondage in the Union following the proclamation.
Watch the video below to learn about the Reconstruction Amendments and answer the following questions in the notes section:
● What metaphor does historian Louise Weinberg use to describe the Reconstruction Amendments? Why do you think she chose this metaphor?
● Why do all three experts in the video consider the 14th Amendment to be so important?
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