Historical evidence from the Reconstruction period helps display the rights that us people have as Americans. People living in the US, regardless of their citizenship, should have fundamental rights, including, safety, access to affordable medical assistance and good education. The thirteenth amendment states, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” The quote explains that people living in the US, shouldn’t be able to be enslaved or work without a payment, they should live in the US without a fear of being enslaved. In addition, Document E was quoted by Sidney Andrews and says, “In 1865 the United States government created the Freedmen’s Bureau to help former slaves in Southern states. The Freedmen’s Bureau helped people by providing medical supplies and health care and establishing schools.” This quote suggests that people living in the US, regardless of their citizenship status, should have the right to access to medical assistance and education, and that children regardless of their race or background should have access to good education. An issue occurring today is how the opportunity for good education isn’t given equitably to those living in the US. This issue is explained in an article posted by “The Atlantic” which speaks about how good education is more expensive, while poorer schools are “bad” schools. This means that only those coming from wealthy backgrounds will be able to receive a good education. One of the quotes from this article states, “Our system does not distribute opportunity equitably, a landmark 2013 report from a group convened by the former Education Secretary Arne Duncan, the Equity and Excellence Commission, reported.” This issue shows how the government doesn’t distribute opportunity equally and offers opportunity based on financial conditions. These events from the past and today show that everyone living in the US, should have access to good education, regardless of their financial circumstances. The past and present also share many similarities because they include the fact of how schools in 1865 were established to provide equal opportunity between the black and white children, but today opportunity is divided due to a financial gap.


  • Document A
  • U.S. Constitution, Amendments 13-15. Retrieved from http://www.senate.gov/civics/constitution_item/constitution.htm#amendments.
  • Document E
  • Sidney Andrews quoted in the Joint Report on Reconstruction, (1866) pp. 174. Retrieved from https://archive.org/details/jointreconstruct00congrich
  • Semuels, Alana. “Good School, Rich School; Bad School, Poor School.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 25 Aug. 2016, www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/08/property-taxes-and-unequal-schools/497333/.



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