African American Reconstruction Dbq Essay

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The Election of 1860 spurred the immediate succession of South Carolina from the Union. In South Carolina’s Declaration of Causes of Secession, it states that the United States federal government was pushing against the South’s legal right to uphold slavery (Doc. A). South Carolina’s secession was the beginning of the complete secession of the South. Abraham Lincoln, who was elected president, fought to both preserve the Union and abolish slavery. The Civil War swept through the United States between 1861 and 1865, ending with the surrender of the South. After the war, the Reconstruction Era took over. In the years between 1860 and 1877 in the United States, various events were changing the way both the government and society ran. Some of …show more content…
Amendment 13 made slavery illegal throughout the entire United States. Amendment 14 granted citizenship to all African Americans. Amendment 15 allowed African Americans to vote. All three of these Amendments pushed for the equality of African Americans, revolutionizing the way they were constitutionally viewed compared to before the Civil War when, in the South, they were barely considered people. A petition from African Americans addressed to the Union convention of Tennessee claims that since African Americans fight in the army and remain loyal to the federal government, that they should have voting rights, too (Doc. C). This petition is meant to convince the government to enforce black suffrage. Because African Americans were considered an established member of American society that fought in the army and participated in the government, they deserved the right to vote. In a diary entry in 1865, Lincoln’s Secretary of the Navy, Gideon Welles, states his opinion that suffrage of African Americans was not in the authority of the federal government (Doc. D). Welles believes that doing this will act to further increase tension between the North and the rebellious South, a relationship that is still raw after the surrender of the South in the Civil War. The thought of the federal government passing an amendment to let African Americans vote so soon after they had abolished slavery was shocking to a man that had helped found the Republican Party. This highlights how revolutionary the 15th Amendment was. The constitutional revolution continued without the approval of Welles and many others, and in 1870, the 15th Amendment was officially passed. In a cartoon by A.R. Ward on the cover of Harper’s Weekly, an African American man votes for the first time (Doc. G). This image is meant to capture the revolution occurring in the United

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