The Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments

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What were the provisions of the 13th and 14th Amendments?

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The Thirteenth Amendment was the first of the Constitutional amendments directly brought into effect as law following the Civil War. The Thirteenth Amendment outlawed slavery and involuntary servitude unless the servitude was the punishment for a crime that an individual has been convicted of commiting, and it gave Congress the power to pass legislation necessary for enforcing the new law. Thus, the Thirteenth Amendment extended the principal begun with the Emancipation Proclamation to all parts of the United States and its territories.

The Fourteenth Amendment defined citizenship and the rights of citizens in the United States, set out requirements regarding state provisions to insure that rights of all citizens were accorded, and established that all states were not allowed to "deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." This amendment directly overturned the Dred Scott decision, which held that black persons could not become citizens of the United States and reinforced the Civil Rights Act of 1866. Years later, this amendment provided the basis for the Brown v. the Board of Education decision that struck down the practice of segregation in the schools.

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