| The Reconstruction Amendments are
the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth amendments
to the United States Constitution, passed between
1865 and 1870, the five years immediately following
the Civil War. This group of Amendments are sometimes
referred to as the Civil War Amendments.
The Amendments were intended to restructure the
United States from a country that was (in Abraham
Lincoln's words) "half slave and half free"
to one in which the constitutionally guaranteed
"blessings of liberty" would be extended
to the entire populace, including the former slaves
and their descendants.
The Thirteenth Amendment (proposed and ratified
in 1865) abolished slavery.
The Fourteenth Amendment (proposed in 1866
and ratified in 1868) provides a broad definition
of national citizenship, overturning the Dred
Scott case, which excluded African Americans.
It requires the states to provide equal protection
under the law to all persons (not only to citizens)
within their jurisdictions.
The Fifteenth Amendment (ratified in 1870)
grants voting rights regardless of "race, color,
or previous condition of servitude".