The Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments acted to resolve two major problems of social integration following the Civil War. First, the Fourteenth Amendment transferred ultimate political sovereignty from local states to the national government. Second, slaves were redefined as national citizens and as such legally relocated from a position of property outside the moral universe of civil society, to the status of citizens, a position within civil society. The Fifteenth Amendment, providing the vote, not only provided a means for political participation, but also served ritually to establish membership in the national community. Finally, the Thirteenth Amendment, abolishing slavery, and actually all three of the Amendments together, provided the core of new political legitimations for a reconstituted and reunited nation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science