Reconstruction is the readmission of the Southern states to the Union. Lincoln decided that ten percent of the eligible voters in 1860 had to take an oath of loyalty to the Union. Andrew Johnson, after Lincoln, added that wealthy Southern Planters had to beg for pardons. The Southern states were militarily occupied.
Radical Republicans wanted tougher punishment. They insisted all freed slaves get the right to vote, which would assure that the Republican Party would dominate. The Southern states did create black codes which did discriminate against blacks. The codes were modeled on Northern vagrancy laws. Southern states began protecting blacks’ rights.
Southern states were ordered to ratify the Fourteenth Amendment. The Radicals sought to incorporate provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1866 into a constitutional amendment – the Fourteenth Amendment – in order that the Civil Rights Act of 1866 not be overturned as unconstitutional.
Section 1 was most significant. All persons born or naturalized in the US, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the US: nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Lecture 7 of 14 from Tom Woods' The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History lecture series.