March 30, 1870
Ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment
"The rights of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude."
A measure which makes at once 4,000,000 people voters who were heretofore declared by the highest tribunal in the land not citizens of the United States, nor eligible to become so . . . is indeed a measure of grander importance than any other one act of the kind from the foundation of our free government to the present day.
President Grant's message to Congress announcing ratification of the 15th Amendment
May 31, 1870
Signing of the first Enforcement Act
President Ulysses S. Grant
This act substantially secured the voting rights of freedmen.
April 20, 1871
Signing of the Second Enforcement Act
"The Ku Klux Klan
This act protected black suffrage and targeted the activities of such violent groups as the Ku Klux Klan.
March 1, 1875
Civil Rights Act of 1875
This groundbreaking act prohibited segregation in various modes of public accommodations and transportation and discrimination in jury selection.
President Grant's role in securing the full political equality of all Americans regardless of color is unsurpassed in presidential history. Even after the popular will overwhelmingly turned against the President's efforts to protect the political and civil rights of former slaves, Ulysses S. Grant refused to abandon his commitment to those for whose freedom he had fought. After he left office, the federal government ended the policy of military intervention in the South and allowed the South to enter a new era of segregation and disfranchisement. During this period, President Grant's efforts to protect the freedmen during Reconstruction were widely ridiculed and declared to be misguided. Such criticism, however, has crumbled in the face of history. . . .