Constitution of the United States

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How is slavery handled in the Constitution?

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Recognizing the end of the Civil War would bring changes to the United States, Congress began working towards amending the United States Constitution to protect the nearly four million freed slaves. Some historians know the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments as the Slavery Amendments or to other historians as the...

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Recognizing the end of the Civil War would bring changes to the United States, Congress began working towards amending the United States Constitution to protect the nearly four million freed slaves. Some historians know the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments as the Slavery Amendments or to other historians as the Reconstruction Amendments. The three amendments to the Consitution forever banned slavery in the United States and provided federal protection to former slaves now free men and women at the war's end.

The Senate passed the Thirteenth Amendment in April of 1864. The House debated for months before passing the Amendment on January 31 of 1865. The Thirteenth Amendment became law when final ratification was completed in December of 1865 by the vote of the states. The Thirteenth Amendment abolishes slavery in the United States and territories of the US forever.

It was not until 1868 the states ratified the Fourteenth Amendment for approval. The Fourteenth Amendment provides that any person born or naturalized in the United States is a citizen of the United States. The amendment was essential to the time as many Southerners refused to recognize freed slaves as citizens claiming they were not born in the country and, in fact, foreigners. The amendment has current implications as well in the debate over immigration policy. The most significant aspect of the change is that it allowed the Federal Government to enforce the law, not leaving enforcement in the hands of states. This amendment is most often cited for opening the door for Civil Rights legislation.

The Fifteenth Amendment followed at the end of the Reconstruction Era. The amendment makes it illegal to discriminate against voters by race or previous servitude. The term used to describe denying a person the right to vote is disenfranchisement or arbitrarily denying a person the right to vote.

The Constitution outlawed the practice of slavery. It defines United States citizenship and protects the rights of every citizen to vote.

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