The status of African Americans changed profoundly during the first century of the U.S.’s history as a country. First, African Americans fought in the War of 1812 on both sides (especially in the Battle of New Orleans). This wasn’t enough to garner recognition sufficient to earn legislative freedom, but many escaped to Canada and settled in Nova Scotia.
In 1863, during the Civil War, President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. It was after the Civil War, in which nearly 200,000 blacks fought in the Union Army, that the U.S. began to end slavery. Between 1865 and 1870, the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments were passed to formally end slavery, and give blacks both citizenship and voting rights.