Civil War and the Constitution

Civil War and the Constitution


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Civil War and the Constitution

At a time when the Civil War was taking place, the United States Senate had a significant impact. Even though President Abraham Lincoln and his military commanders are often the focus of wartime history, the Senate had to deal with war-related matters even before Lincoln took the oath of office and continued to do so throughout the war. As a result of the attack on Fort Sumter, the Capitol quickly became a sea of troops. We even had a temporary base of operations in the Senate Chamber! As well as housing a bakery, the Capitol also as a temporary hospital for the soldiers in need of medical attention (Masera et al., 2022). After thereafter, the Senate faced a series of high-stakes constitutional battles as it carried out its legislative and oversight responsibilities. The Senate and the House of Representatives worked together to enact momentous legislation that continues to define our country today. For many years after World War II, a number of senator-led discussions on civil rights and emancipation, as well as constitutional changes guaranteeing the rights of citizenship, took place.

Supreme Court and Jim Crow

As a result of Jim Crow, blacks were not given the same rights and opportunities as their white counterparts. To construct Jim Crow, the Supreme Court of the United States was crucial.

The 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments ensured the freedom, citizenship, and the right to vote for African-Americans in the United States. The Civil Rights Act of 1875 prohibited the segregation of schools, public facilities, transportation, and juries, among other things. During Reconstruction, the Supreme Court seemed ready to assist in the advancement of African Americans. To confine juries to whites was unconstitutional and infringed on the 14th Amendment rights of African-Americans in Strauder v. West Virginia, which was ruled by the Supreme Court in 2013 (Wiegand, 2021). A white jury had found two African-Americans guilty in the case of Virginia v. Rives, and the Supreme Court upheld their convictions. The Court argued that since there were no black jurors, a black defendant/rights plaintiff was not disadvantaged. Strauder made it clear whites may discriminate lawfully without violating federal law. People of color had no recourse in court and were tried by a panel of whites alone. Victims of crimes against blacks were almost never held accountable. Segregation and discrimination was unpunished as long as the state was not involved.

Litigating Equality

The constitutional assurance that no person or organization shall be denied the protection of the law that is enjoyed by like individuals or groups is known as "equal protection" in the United States of America. To put it another way, people in comparable situations should be treated equally. All similar instances are given equal treatment under the laws, and no one is subject to responsibilities higher than those placed on others in similar circumstances, which is what is meant by "equal protection." State governments cannot refuse any individual "the equal protection of the laws" under the Fourteenth Amendment, which was enacted in response to the American Civil War.

How the Courts have Evaluated Civil Rights Concerns

The Supreme Court has dealt with a wide range of civil rights disputes, including racial and gender discrimination, sexual orientation discrimination, and issues relating to disability rights. In Korematsu v. U.S. (1944), the Supreme Court affirmed the conviction of an American of Japanese ancestry who had been prosecuted for staying in California after a presidential directive in 1942 designated most of the West Coast as a "military region" and required transfer of most Japanese-Americans from California.


Masera, F., Rosenberg, M., & Walker, S. (2022, January 16). The Power of Narratives: Anti-Black Attitudes and Violence in the US South.

Wiegand, W. A. (2021). Race and School Librarianship in the Jim Crow South, 1954–1970: The Untold Story of Carrie Coleman Robinson as a Case Study. The Library Quarterly, 91(3), 254–268.