National Constitution CenterCenturies of Citizenship: A Constitutional Timeline Exhibit
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1866-1885: We rebuild the Union and amend the Constitution

February 3, 1870
We amend the Constitution

Collage celebrating the 15th Amendment

Nine years after the war began, the United States is united once again. Yet the people are divided. Slavery is gone, but most whites can’t accept blacks as their equals. And many Northerners don’t trust the former slave owners to guard the former slaves’ civil rights.

Waging war in Congress, Republicans pushed—and passed—three remarkable amendments that reshape our Constitution.

The 13th abolishes slavery.

The 14th defines U.S. citizenship, and includes all black Americans.

The 15th says no one can be denied the right to vote because of his race, color or former life as a slave.

Today, the states ratified the 15th. A turning point for the Constitution...and the country.

It changes our idea of who belongs to “We, the People.”

Read about it in the New York times

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