Constitution DBQ

Essay by adj12345High School, 11th grade May 2004

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Constitutional and social developments amounted to a revolution in many respects. The time period 1860-1877 was an era of reconstruction and constant development for the United States. Constitutional and social development was predominantly based around the debate over African American's rights and state's rights. These issues were the main cause of the civil war and remained the debate at hand after the north defeated the south. During this period, the ambiguity of the constitution was being perceived in differently. The power struggle for state's rights and those of African Americans did amount to a revolution. During these years of change, African Americans were freed and given the right to vote while the constitution was amended accordingly.

In 1860, South Carolina declared that their secession was caused by the Federal government's abuse of power. Powers not delegated to the United States by the constitution are reserved for the states and the people.

South Carolina felt that certain powers were restrained resulting in their existence as a sovereign state (DOC A). During the civil war, African Americans fought against the south and died for the north, yet were still denied the right to vote. In Doc. C, the African Americans are asking for the right to vote. The petition argues that if blacks were entrusted with a bayonet in the war, why not entrust them with a vote? And is this the reward for serving on the battle field? In (DOC D) the secretary of the Navy states that slavery was abolished through constitutional means but suffrage is prescribed by the states, and it is not the Federal government's jurisdiction to decide at this point.

The 13th amendment made it illegal for slavery to exist in the United States, thus freeing millions of African Americans. With nowhere to go and no way...