School Improvement in Maryland
Clarifications: Each clarification provides an explanation of an indicator/objective to help teachers better understand the skills and/or concepts.

Standard 5.0 History

Topic B. Emergence, Expansion and Changes in Nations and Empires

Indicator 5. Analyze the political, economic, and social goals of Reconstruction

Objective b. Explain how the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments addressed the issue of civil rights through abolition, the granting of citizenship, and the right to vote


Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation established the abolition of slavery as a major Union goal for the Civil War, but it did not actually outlaw slavery throughout the nation or redefine the legal status of African Americans. Three constitutional amendments were necessary to establish the civil rights for African Americans during the period of Reconstruction.

The Thirteenth Amendment, passed in January 1865, abolished slavery in all parts of the United States. The Fourteenth Amendment, passed in 1868, granted citizenship to all persons born or naturalized in the United States and prohibited any state from abridging citizenship rights in any way. Intended to grant citizenship to African Americans, this amendment protects the rights of citizenship in general. The Fifteenth Amendment, passed in 1870, prohibited states from denying individuals' voting rights on the basis of "race, color, or previous condition of servitude."

In theory, these three Amendments granted and protected equal civil rights for freed slaves and countered the black codes. In practice, Southern states continued to deny African Americans civil liberties for another century.

Resources for Objective 5.B.5.b:
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