The Civil War and the following period of Reconstruction resulted in change but left many serious problems unsolved. The Civil War was fought from 1861 to 1865 between the Northern part of the United States and the Southern part of the United States over several issues. Reconstruction was the period of U.S. history from 1865 through 1877, during which the states that had seceded during the Civil War were reorganized under federal control and later restored to the Union. During and After Reconstruction, there were many arguments over the civil rights of African Americans. Disputes over the status of African Americans led to a famous trial, Plessy vs. Ferguson, whose ruling had an influence on African American life for a long time. .
After the Civil War, the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments were added to the Constitution. The thirteenth amendment freed Africans from slavery. The fourteenth and fifteenth amendments increased the civil liberties of freedmen by giving them the right to vote and giving them equal protection under the law. These amendments were not helpful because the government and the white people did not follow these laws until the mid-1900's. During and after Reconstruction, there were laws made that limited the civil liberties of African Americans. The black codes were a list of measures for restricting the rights of former slaves. These codes prevented African Americans from carry firearms, starting business, appearing on the streets after sunset, traveling without a permit, etc. Literacy tests required voters to take and pass a test in order to be able to vote. Most freedmen did not know how to write and read and therefore could not pass the tests. Poll taxes made every voter pay so that he/she could vote. Most freedmen were poor and therefore did not have any money to give for voting. The "grandfather clause" allowed a person whose grandfather had voted before 1867 to vote without having to pass a literacy test.