While the Reconstruction Amendments were an important step in ensuring equal rights for all people, regardless of race, racial injustices throughout the United States continued into the late 19th and 20th centuries, leading to the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, and the passages of Supreme Court decisions and legislation, including Brown v. Board of Education, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Visit the National Constitution Center’s learning module to learn more about the freedom struggle and civil rights.
The Reconstruction Amendments
How did the Constitution change during Reconstruction? This video lecture is part of a an online course called “Introduction to Key Constitutional Concepts and Supreme Court Cases,” taught by University of Pennsylvania law professor Kermit Roosevelt III. The course explores these questions: Where does the Constitution come from? How has it changed over the years? How do we know what it means?
Reconstruction and The American Founding
Explore primary source documents in the ConSource digital library to see how the provisions of the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments are connected to the issues and debates discussed during the revolutionary and constitutional periods.
Reconstruction and Citizenship
Historian Eric Foner, of Columbia University, discusses the major changes in citizenship during and after the Civil War, particularly for African Americans.
The Reconstruction Amendments: Official Documents as Social History
The Fourteenth Amendment was the most important constitutional change in the nation’s history since the Bill of Rights. Its heart was the first section, which declared all persons born or naturalized in the United States (except Indians) to be both national and state citizens, and which prohibited the states from abridging their “privileges and immunities,” depriving any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, or denying them “equal protection of the laws.” Free registration for students and teachers required to access resource.
The Civil War and Reconstruction
Why was the Civil War fought? How did Reconstruction change the relationship between the federal government, the states and the people? This video lecture explores these questions. It’s part of an online course taught by University of Pennsylvania law professor Kermit Roosevelt III. “Introduction to Key Constitutional Concepts and Supreme Court Cases” covers the topics: Where does the Constitution come from? How has it changed over the years? How do we know what it means?
To Amend or Not to Amend, That’s Been the Question Many Times
This lesson asks students to examine recent proposed amendments to the U.S. Constitution, analyze them for public policy triggering mechanisms, and compare and contrast them to amendments that have been ratified.
Citizenship and the U.S. Constitution
In this lesson students will examine the concept of “citizen” from a definitional perspective of what a citizen is and from the perspective of how citizenship is conferred in the United States. Students will discuss the rights and responsibilities of citizens and non-citizens and review the changing history of citizenship from colonial times to the present.
Shaw v. Reno (1993)
Did the North Carolina residents’ claim that the 1990 redistricting plan discriminated on the basis of race raise a valid constitutional issue under the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause? North Carolina drew legislative districts to create a majority black district.
Documents and Debates in American History and Government – Vol. 2, 1865-2009
The Core Documents Collection – Documents and Debates is structured around a series of topics, each based on a question for debate. For each topic, there is a collection of documents that, together, form the basis of argument over that topic – from those who debated it at a given point in American history. Volume One covers 1865-2009.
The goal is to explore a series of critical moments in American history by asking questions for which there are not simple yes/no answers, but instead call for informed discussion and rational debate. The Documents and Debates readers also include appendices of additional documents, and together are a perfect fit for any American History survey course, including AP U.S. History.