During the time period of 1860 – 1877, we fought to determine what position we would assume on many controversial issues. Black suffrage and the power of the national government against the power of the states were the two most prominent topics. The Constitution underwent crucial changes, reforms, and developments, yet America's society, though affected by the Constitution, changed very little. God forbid these changes be called developments.
South Carolina threatened secession because they were being denied many rights that were delegated to them by the Constitution. South Carolina and a better portion of the South felt that they had been denied their right to own slaves, because the federal government had left it up to the states to decide their position on slavery through popular sovereignty. Later, after the republicans had full control of Congress, they passed numerous bills freeing and benefiting the African-Americans. (Document A, American Pageant, Document D)
With what seemed to be a follow up on former President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, Congress passed the 13th amendment accomplishing what Lincoln could not, freeing all the slaves. Still not satisfied, and yearning for equality the blacks called out for fair treatment and the 14th and 15th amendments were passed making African-Americans made primary citizens and granting them the right to vote. All the while encouraging the states to allow freedmen to vote. For a short time period Congress seemed like it was trying all that it could to promote black equality. (American Pageant, Document H)
The Freedmen's Bureau was formed to help the freedmen of the South find jobs and/or land to homestead. There were also many sympathizers that tried to help blacks utilize their newfound rights guiding them in gain offices, negotiating contracts, and voting. The "scallywags and "carpetbaggers" within these groups promised to every freed sl…

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