After the North defeated the South in the Civil
War, politicians faced the task of putting the divided country back
together. There was great debate about how severely the former
Confederate states should be punished for leaving the Union.
With the assassination of President Lincoln in
1865, it was up to President Andrew Johnson to try to reunite former
enemies. The Reconstruction Acts of 1867 laid out the process for
readmitting Southern states into the Union. The Fourteenth Amendment
(1868) provided former slaves with national citizenship, and the
Fifteenth Amendment (1870) granted black men the right to vote.
These were only the first steps, however, toward
reconstructing the fragmented nation.
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