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Long before the Union victory in 1865, Congress prepared for the many challenges the nation would face at Civil War’s end, particularly the integration of four million newly emancipated African Americans into the political life of the nation, and the readmission to federal representation of former states in rebellion. Congressional Reconstruction included the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth amendments to the Constitution which extended the civil and legal protections of citizens to former slaves - though the struggle to achieve equality continues to this day.
In this episode, Prof. Thomas Bahde places the three amendments in their historical context in the Civil War and Reconstruction eras, specifically considering them as part of both a culmination of the antebellum antislavery and civil rights movements and as part of a massive sea-change in 19th-century American social, cultural, political, and economic life.
Constitution Day (or Citizenship Day) is an American federal observance that recognizes the adoption of the United States Constitution and those who have become U.S. citizens. It is observed on September 17, the day the U.S. Constitutional Convention signed the Constitution in 1787.
The event was cosponsored by the Office of Academic Affairs, the Citizenship and Crisis Initiative, and the School of History, Philosophy, and Religion at Oregon State University.