This discussion addresses the following outcomes:

  • Examine the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth amendments to the Constitution and consider their impact on American politics and society (CO#4, CO#5).
  • Speculate on the impact of Reconstruction’s failure for African Americans into the late nineteenth century (CO#3, CO#5, CO#6/Gen. Ed. Outcome 4.2).

When the Civil War ended in 1865, the federal government made a conscious effort to establish the status of former slaves (freemen and women) and to integrate black Americans into the political mainstream. To assure this process, the United States passed the Thirteenth (1865) and Fourteenth Amendments (1868). In addition, the Fifteenth Amendment (1870) ensured voting rights for black men. The Reconstruction period lasted until 1877 but its impact continued well after that.

In preparation for our discussion be sure to read the Module Notes, Chapter 15: “Reconstruction (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.” in The American Yawp, and Grimsley, M. (2012), Wars for the American South: The First and Second Reconstructions Considered as Insurgencies (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site..  In addition, consult the following primary sources: Thirteenth Amendment to the US Constitution (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.(1865), Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (1868), Fifteenth Amendment to the US Constitution (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (1870).

Using the primary and secondary sources above as evidence, consider the following in a post of at least 250 words:

  • What were the reasons for the passage of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments, and what were Amendments’ impacts on American history?
  • Why and how did Reconstruction fail to protect the rights of black Americans? How did this failure continue to shape American politics and social relations afterward?

Then, over the course of the week, respond to the posts of at least two of your classmates.

Your initial post is due by Thursday at 11:59PM. Your responses are due by Sunday at 11:59PM.

Consult the Discussion Posting Guide for information about writing your discussion posts. It is recommended that you write your post in a document first. Check your work and correct any spelling or grammatical errors. When you are ready to make your initial post, click on “Reply.” Then copy/paste the text into the message field, and click “Post Reply.” This is a “post first” discussion forum. You must submit your initial post before you can view other students’ posts.

To respond to a peer, click “Reply” beneath her or his post and continue as with an initial post.


This discussion will be graded using a rubric. Please review this rubric prior to beginning your work. View the rubric by clicking on the gear icon Image of gear icon at the top right side of this page or on the Course Rubrics page within the Start Here module. All discussions combined are worth 20% of your final course grade.

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