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.