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What are the three Reconstruction amendments?

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The Reconstruction amendments were the 13th Amendment that abolished slavery, the 14th Amendment granting citizenship to all people born in the United States and the 15th Amendment, which made it illegal to deny the right to vote because of race. The Reconstruction amendments attempted to integrate newly freed slaves into society after the Civil War.

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Former Confederate states were required to ratify the Reconstruction amendments in order to be represented at a federal level once more. When the war ended, slavery had been abolished in Washington, D.C., and in some states, but not at the national level. The 13th Amendment, initiated by Charles Sumner and other senators, abolished slavery nationwide. The 14th Amendment allowed former slaves to become citizens of the U.S. and punished states that limited citizens' rights. The 15th Amendment was ratified in 1870 and prohibited states from preventing citizens suffrage based on race.

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  • Q:

    What is the 15th Amendment?

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    The 15th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states that neither the nation nor any individual state can deny or change the voting rights of an American citizen, regardless of his race, color or past experiences as a slave. It was designed to give African-American men the right to vote.

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  • Q:

    How does the 16th Amendment affect us today?

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    The 16th Amendment gives the federal government the right to collect income tax. Prior to the ratification of this amendment, the U.S. Supreme Court found a federal income tax unconstitutional in Pollock v. Farmer’s Loan & Trust Co. Before the 16th Amendment, the Constitution only allowed Congress to levy taxes against states and not individuals.

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  • Q:

    Why was the 15th Amendment important?

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    The 15th Amendment was important because it gave African American men the right to vote. It was passed in 1870 and stated that the right to vote was guaranteed to any person no matter their race, color or "previous condition of servitude."

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  • Q:

    How did the amendments to US Constitution benefit the people?

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    Most of the 27 amendments to the Constitution either provide a unique benefit to or guarantee a right of the American people. For example, the First Amendment guarantees the right to peaceably assemble, to petition the government for a redress of grievances and the freedom of speech, press and religion.

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