U.S. Senator from Michigan Jacob M. Howard, author of the Citizenship Clause
United States President John F. Kennedy addresses the nation on civil rights on June 11, 1963
The ruins of Richmond, Virginia, the former Confederate capital, after the American Civil War; newly-freed African Americans voting for the first time in 1867; office of the Freedmen's Bureau in Memphis, Tennessee; Memphis riots of 1866
Rep. John Bingham of Ohio was the principal author of the Equal Protection Clause
Following the March on Washington on August 28, 1963, civil rights leaders met with President Kennedy and Vice President Johnson to discuss civil rights legislation.
The Southern economy had been ruined by the war. Charleston, South Carolina: Broad Street, 1865
Thurgood Marshall served as chief counsel in the landmark Fourteenth Amendment decision Brown v. Board of Education (1954).
First page of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
The distribution of wealth per capita in 1872, illustrating the disparity between North and South in that period
Senate and House votes on the Fourteenth Amendment
Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X at the United States Capitol on March 26, 1964, listening to the Senate debate on the bill. This was the only time the two men ever met; their meeting lasted only one minute.
A political cartoon of Andrew Johnson and Abraham Lincoln, 1865, entitled "The Rail Splitter At Work Repairing the Union". The caption reads (Johnson): "Take it quietly Uncle Abe and I will draw it closer than ever." (Lincoln): "A few more stitches Andy and the good old Union will be mended."
Form of the Letter of Transmittal of the Fourteenth Amendment to the several states for its ratification
United States President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Among the guests behind him is Martin Luther King Jr.
Monument in honor of the Grand Army of the Republic, organized after the war
A map showing the each Senator's Vote on the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
Freedmen voting in New Orleans, 1867
The record of the roll call vote kept by the House Clerk on final passage of the bill
Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States (1861–1865)
Engrossing copy of H.R. 7152, which added sex to the categories of persons against whom the bill prohibited discrimination, as passed by the House of Representatives
Celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation in Massachusetts, 1862
United States President Lyndon B. Johnson speaks to a television camera at the signing of the Civil Rights Act in 1964
Northern teachers traveled into the South to provide education and training for the newly freed population.
A map showing the each Senator's Vote on the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
Andrew Johnson, 17th President of the United States (1865–1869)
An October 24th, 1874 Harper's Magazine editorial cartoon by Thomas Nast denouncing KKK and White League murders of innocent Blacks
The debate over Reconstruction and the Freedmen's Bureau was nationwide. This 1866 Pennsylvania election poster alleged that the bureau kept the Negro in idleness at the expense of the hardworking white taxpayer. A racist caricature of an African American is depicted.
1868 Republican cartoon identifies Democratic candidates Seymour and Blair (right) with KKK violence and with Confederate soldiers (left).
"This is a white man's government", Thomas Nast's caricature of the forces arraigned against Grant and Reconstruction in the 1868 election. Atop a black Union veteran reaching for a ballot box: the New York City Irish; Confederate and Klansman Nathan Bedford Forrest; and big-money Democratic Party chairman August Belmont, a burning freedmen's school in the background. Harper's Weekly, September 5, 1868.
Ulysses S. Grant, 18th President of the United States (1869–1877)
Grant's Attorney General Amos T. Akerman prosecuted the Ku Klux Klan, believing that the strong arm of the federal Justice Department could pacify the South.
Eastman Johnson's 1863 painting The Lord is My Shepherd, of a man reading the Bible
Atlanta's rail yard and roundhouse in ruins shortly after the end of the Civil War
$20 banknote with portrait of Secretary of the Treasury Hugh McCulloch
Winslow Homer's 1876 painting A Visit from the Old Mistress
A Republican Form of Government and No Domestic Violence, by Thomas Nast, a political cartoon about the Wheeler Compromise in Louisiana, published in Harper's Weekly, March 6, 1875
White Leaguers attacking the New Orleans integrated police force and state militia, Battle of Liberty Place, 1874
Rutherford B. Hayes, 19th President of the United States (1877–1881)
A poster for the 1939 epic film Gone with the Wind, which is set during the Civil War and Reconstruction eras
Map of the five Reconstruction military districts
First Military District
Second Military District
Third Military District
Fourth Military District
Fifth Military District

It proclaimed the newly freed slaves (freedmen; black people) citizens with (ostensibly) the same civil rights as those of whites; these rights were nominally guaranteed by three new constitutional amendments: the 13th, 14th, and 15th, collectively known as the Reconstruction Amendments.

- Reconstruction era

Congress asserted its authority to legislate under several different parts of the United States Constitution, principally its power to regulate interstate commerce under Article One (section 8), its duty to guarantee all citizens equal protection of the laws under the Fourteenth Amendment, and its duty to protect voting rights under the Fifteenth Amendment.

- Civil Rights Act of 1964

However, Congress can sometimes reach such discrimination via other parts of the Constitution such as the Commerce Clause which Congress used to enact the Civil Rights Act of 1964 -- the Supreme Court upheld this approach in Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States (1964).

- Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution

Strong opposition to the bill also came from Senator Strom Thurmond, who was still a Democrat at the time: "This so-called Civil Rights Proposals [sic], which the President has sent to Capitol Hill for enactment into law, are unconstitutional, unnecessary, unwise and extend beyond the realm of reason. This is the worst civil-rights package ever presented to the Congress and is reminiscent of the Reconstruction proposals and actions of the radical Republican Congress."

- Civil Rights Act of 1964

Since Reconstruction, Section 3 has been invoked only once: it was used to block Socialist Party of America member Victor L. Berger of Wisconsin – convicted of violating the Espionage Act for opposing US entry into World War I – from assuming his seat in the House of Representatives in 1919 and 1920.

- Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution

The later enforceable Civil Rights Act of 1964 borrowed many of the earlier 1875's law's provisions.

- Reconstruction era
U.S. Senator from Michigan Jacob M. Howard, author of the Citizenship Clause

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Joseph P. Bradley authored the opinion of the court.

Civil Rights Cases

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Joseph P. Bradley authored the opinion of the court.
John Marshall Harlan, became known as the "Great Dissenter" for his fiery dissent in Civil Rights Cases and other early civil rights cases.

The Civil Rights Cases, 109 U.S. 3 (1883), were a group of five landmark cases in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments did not empower Congress to outlaw racial discrimination by private individuals.

During Reconstruction, Congress had passed the Civil Rights Act of 1875, which entitled everyone to access accommodation, public transport, and theaters regardless of race or color.

Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 generally revived the ban on discrimination in public accommodations that was in the Civil Rights Act of 1875, but under the Commerce Clause of Article I instead of the 14th Amendment; the Court held Title II to be constitutional in Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States,.

Alabama police in 1965 attack voting rights marchers on "Bloody Sunday", the first of the Selma to Montgomery marches

Voting Rights Act of 1965

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Landmark piece of federal legislation in the United States that prohibits racial discrimination in voting.

Landmark piece of federal legislation in the United States that prohibits racial discrimination in voting.

Alabama police in 1965 attack voting rights marchers on "Bloody Sunday", the first of the Selma to Montgomery marches
United States President Lyndon B. Johnson, Martin Luther King Jr., and Rosa Parks at the signing of the Voting Rights Act on August 6, 1965
United States President George W. Bush signs amendments to the Act in July 2006
The first page of the Voting Rights Act of 1965
States and counties encompassed by the Act's coverage formula in January 2008 (excluding bailed-out jurisdictions). Several counties subsequently bailed out, but the majority of the map accurately depicts covered jurisdictions before the Supreme Court's decision in Shelby County v. Holder (2013), which declared the coverage formula unconstitutional.
Final page of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, signed by United States President Lyndon B. Johnson, President of the Senate Hubert Humphrey, and Speaker of the House John McCormack

Designed to enforce the voting rights guaranteed by the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, the Act sought to secure the right to vote for racial minorities throughout the country, especially in the South.

After the Reconstruction Era ended in 1877, enforcement of these laws became erratic, and in 1894, Congress repealed most of their provisions.

Congress responded to rampant discrimination against racial minorities in public accommodations and government services by passing the Civil Rights Act of 1964.