Sample History Essay Paper on 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments

13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments

The 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments promoted social justice, equality, and civil rights for the social groups that previously suffered from oppression and discrimination. The 13th Amendment outlawed all practices of enslavement, except as a penalty for crime. It was necessary because the original U.S. Constitution had supported slavery (albeit implicitly) through clauses such as the Three-Fifths Compromise (which provided criteria for inclusion of slaves in total population count for the purpose of apportioning tax revenue and Senate seats among states). Increasing anti-slavery sentiment in the U.S. in the 19th Century influenced the need for explicit political condemnation through the Constitutional Amendment. The Amendment was successful because it abolished slavery officially, although a few problems such as White supremacist violence and selective enforcement among states delayed its total success.

The 14th Amendment recognized all individuals born and naturalized in U.S territory as citizens and guaranteed equal protection of laws for all citizens. The Amendment was necessary to address the citizenship rights of former slaves, which the existing Constitution did not protect. It offered a broad designation of citizenship and overruled a Supreme Court verdict that descendants of slaves were ineligible to be American citizens. The Amendmentwas successful despite strong contests by States because Congress required its ratification as a criterion for States’ representation in the House.

The 15th Amendment prohibited the denial of rights to vote usingcriteria such as race, color, or former slavery status. The Amendment was necessary to accord full citizenship rights to previous Black slaves who were not eligible to vote. Despite severe opposition by White supremacist groups and women’s suffrage groups that demanded inclusion of an anti-gender discrimination clause in the Amendment, the Amendment was successful since 30 States ratified it by 1870, while the remaining ones accepted it by the end of the 20th Century. Nowadays, all States accord equal voting rights irrespective of these criteria.