The American civil war is the most deadly event that ever happened in the country’s history because it led to the death of more than half a million people and left a million of others physically or mentally injured.
The war was triggered by the southern states rebellion when they declared that they were no longer apart of the United States of America and instead they formed their own separate union, the confederate states of America led by Jefferson davits. The source of this conflict was the fact that republicans had campaigned against slavery and wanted abolition of slavery expansion in areas that did not have slaves.
The Republican party won the 1861 elections and before they had taken office the southern states declared the rebellion which Abraham Lincoln the elected president rejected. The southern states forces started attacking the other states and this made Lincoln to declare war against the rebellion and also abolished slavery in the south .The war took four years after which the northern states won and that meant end of slavery end of the confederacy and the beginning of a functional federal government in the United States.
The slaves were freed under the emancipation proclamation through which president Lincoln gave orders that all salves in the confederate states would be freed if the states did not return to the union.
Although the slaves were freed, they needed legal protection from the whites who did not support the abolition hence amendments were made in the constitution so as to completely declare them free American citizens.
The proclamation led to the freedom of most slaves though it was a war weapon which did not make slavery illegal so Lincoln decided that it would be appropriate if it was passed as a law and this led to the thirteenth amendment of the American constitution.
The law was passed by congress in 1865 and it declared that “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude…shall exist within the United States.”Slavery was defined as any harm or threat made to a person that they would suffer if they did not offer forced free labor while involuntary servitude was holding a person hostage by force or trough threats of legal coercion so as to perform labor against self will.
The amendments protected the blacks but still there was need for more legislation in regard to their discrimination and hence the origin of the fourteenth amendment which was titled citizen rights and was passed in 1868. After the abolition of slavery a newspaper in the north was had an editorial titled “Slavery is dead, the Negro is not, and there is the misfortune ‘’. The fate of the slaves after gaining freedom was not stipulated at Lincoln’s death and hence there was a lot of confusion.
There were discussions whether they were to receive economic rights of the whites under the PI principles of property and contract and unrestricted pursuit of economic gain, putting them on the same status as the white men and also no one knew if the freed slaves would receive political rights such as voting and ability to serve in public office, free speech and free expression.
The blacks owned nothing, no land, houses and also they were not allowed to attend school. The northerners did not want their presence in their states since they considered them as competitors for jobs, land, business and even women. The southerners had vowed to maintain their white supremacy through making life difficult for blacks as slavery was their only legacy.
Blacks had no licenses to move from one state to another unless their master obtained it for them, then they would work for them to repay. They still wanted blacks to lower their eyes in the presence of a white person, to tip their hats, and they especially wanted black men to not be “loose” where they might “intermingle ‘’with white women.
This led to the amendment that declared all persons born or naturalized in the United States legal citizens, no state was allowed to enforce any law that was against the rights of its citizens ;to include life, liberty, property and the protection by the law among other elements pertaining the southern confederacy. Finally, the 14th Amendment gave to Congress the power to enforce the 14th Amendment by legislation, making the states subject to the national government in matters regarding to equality.
Despite the 14th amendment very few states granted blacks the right to vote and none in the south, hence blacks could not vote for their rights and oppression was not over yet. These led to the 15th amendment which prevents any state from denying any citizen the right to vote on the basis of race religion color or slavery.
It was passed in 1870 and congress was given mandate to enforce it. The first Africa American to vote did so on March 1870.It was the third and final of the reconstruction amendments of the United States constitution.
There has been a challenge for decades on the powers that the president and congress have in regard to sending armed forces to hostile conditions. The congress has all along claimed to have the authority to declare war and send the forces but the presidents are actually the people who have been doing so until the formation of the War Powers Resolution Act.
The act gave the powers to the congress while the president was accorded the power to lead the forces into war as their commander in chief. This prevents the presidents from using his powers to create war or misuse the armed forces for his own personal achievements and also to ensure separation of powers within the three arms of government.
The issue of property rights and liberty contract began with the Lochner versus New York case, in which the government wanted to limit the number of hours per day that a baker could work claiming that it was protecting their health .The supreme courts ruled out the argument deeming it as interference with the rights and liberty in the 14th amendment.
From then on the court has dealt with economic regulations passed by the government that could prevent people from engaging in contracts and ownership of private property .This has been an essential function of the courts in protecting citizen’s rights and liberties in the United States which would have otherwise caused many controversies.