The 14th Amendment to Black New Orleans

The 14th Amendment to Black New Orleans

The 14th Amendment was a part of Reconstruction history, but its effects and interpretations are still being debated. It was meant to engage the four million formerly enslaved people with its prevailing morality – the language of equal justice after the Civil War. This was quite meaningful to the people of New Orleans who brought some of the first suits in the nation to uphold the rights of African descendants.

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Secession Documents: Kentucky and Missouri

Secession Documents: Kentucky and Missouri

Kentucky and Missouri were divided border states. Pro-Confederate governments within both states declared secession and issued formal documents, but neither state officially left the Union and remained with the United States during the war. The divided nature of the border states caused conflict within their borders and men from Kentucky and Missouri fought for both sides of the Civil War.

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Secession Documents: Texas

Secession Documents: Texas

Texas was the seventh state to secede on February 1, 1861, the last of the first phase of secession and the final of the seven states to formally declare the Confederacy on February 8, 1861.

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Secession Documents: Georgia

Secession Documents: Georgia

Georgia was the fifth state to secede on January 19, 1861. It was one of the original seven states to declare the Confederate States of America on February 8, 1861. Georgia gives one of the longest explanations for its secession from the Union. 

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Secession Documents: Mississippi

Secession Documents: Mississippi

Mississippi was the second state to secede from the United States on January 9, 1861 and one of the states to declare the formation of the Confederacy on February 8, 1861. The state's declaration of secession provides one of the clearest connections between secession and slavery.

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Secession Documents: South Carolina

Secession Documents: South Carolina

South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union on December 20, 1860. Because they were the first to leave they needed to explain to the rest of the states and the world why they were dissolving the Union and defend the legality of secession. South Carolina's declaration of secession includes a defense of states’ rights as the foundation of the legality of secession as well as the grievances with the North that sparked that action.

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Secession Documents: Introduction

Secession Documents: Introduction

While secession and the lead up to the Civil War were very complex, conflict over slavery was certainly central to the South’s decision to leave the Union. This is evident from the Southern states’ own words as they issued the ordinances of secession and documents of explanation as they each left the United States to form the Confederacy.

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'A Most Dangerous Precedent:' Charting the Progress of Freedom in the Civil War

'A Most Dangerous Precedent:' Charting the Progress of Freedom in the Civil War

 Yet here we are, as Maury and her peers were, confronted with a people demanding recognition even without the protection or support of the law.  In this moment, freedom existed alongside slavery, making it all the more difficult to reckon with both for contemporaries and for historians. 

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Reforming a Nation, Saving the Union: the Problem of “Fallen” Women in Antebellum U.S. Culture

Reforming a Nation, Saving the Union: the Problem of “Fallen” Women in Antebellum U.S. Culture

The complicated role that women played in nineteenth-century American culture meant that the case of female crime was more complicated, and that despite the fact that many women were vocal and influential members of reform movements, their counterparts guilty of committing crimes were often left outside of the reformative process. Yet women played a unique role in the breakdown of the systems of control enforced prior to the Civil War, and consequently were responsible for challenging the normative barriers that endeavored to keep them on the margins of public life.

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Sanitary Measure or Unchecked Despotism? The Fourteenth Amendment, the Slaughter-House Cases, and Radical Reconstruction

Sanitary Measure or Unchecked Despotism? The Fourteenth Amendment, the Slaughter-House Cases, and Radical Reconstruction

How does the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution relate to a group of disgruntled butchers? In 1873, the United States Supreme Court struggled to answer exactly this question.

Perhaps no image better captured the tumultuous and confused nature of the Reconstruction Era than former Supreme Court Justice John Campbell during the 1873 Slaughter-House Cases. A former slave owner who served as the Assistant Secretary of War for the Confederacy, Campbell oddly found himself arguing against states rights in an attempt to overturn a Louisiana state statute. When the Reconstructionist, Republican-dominated legislature of Louisiana incorporated all the slaughterhouses within New Orleans, giving a single company the exclusive right to slaughter within the city, no one expected the butcher’s protests to lead to the first interpretation of the new Fourteenth Amendment by the nation’s highest court. Campbell, however, quickly saw an opportunity.

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