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.
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.