Congress then turned its attention to amending the Constitution. In 1867 they approved the far-reaching Fourteenth Amendment, which prohibited "states from abridging equality before the law." The second part of the Amendment provided for a reduction of a state's representatives if suffrage was denied. Republicans, in essence, offered the South a choice — accept black enfranchisement or lose congressional representation. A third clause barred ex-Confederates from holding state or national office.


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