The question of "the peculiar institution" known as slavery had been hotly debated long before the American Civil War. This video outlines the reasons the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution were necessary. The Founding Fathers left the slavery issue unaddressed, and a series of events occurred throughout the late 18th and early 19th centuries which ultimately led to the Civil War.
After the Civil War, the U.S. had a long road ahead for rebuilding the country. In addition to fixing the country's infrastructure, the U.S. needed to mend the social and political inequities many African Americans faced. The 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution were created with the purpose of correcting these inequities, however, resistance in both the state and federal levels caused the "Great Experiment in Biracial Democracy" to fail. Despite efforts by Republicans to expand democracy, and grant more rights to "Freedmen", African Americans would not see full equal rights until almost a century later, with the Civil Rights Movement.
History in a Nutshell is a series that explains historical events in layman's terms. Produced by Knowitall.org, a K-12 website owned and managed by South Carolina ETV.
Viewer discretion is advised, as it may contain content which some may find controversial.