On March 13, 1866, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act, which declared that anyone born in the United States is a citizen entitled to full constitutional rights. In May 1870 Massachusetts senator Charles Sumner, one of the most powerful Radical Republicans in American politics, started a campaign for broader civil rights legislation because he believed that the 1866 bill failed to prevent discrimination toward blacks. Sumner died on March 11, 1874, before he could see the passage of a second civil rights law. However—perhaps in homage to their influential comrade— the Senate...
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