After the Civil War, the federal government took various actions to bring southern states back into the Union, rebuild the devastated economy of the South, and provide aid and civil rights to former slaves. This period of U.S. history, from 1865 to 1877, is known as the era of Reconstruction. The 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments to the United States Constitution were adopted during this time and are therefore called the Reconstruction Amendments.

Below is an image of the first page and Preamble of the United States Constitution. Click on the image to open a new window with more information about the Reconstruction Amendments.

Source: The United States Constitution, National Archives