National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
The end of the Civil War saw the passage of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution. Respectively, they abolished slavery, guaranteed citizenship to all persons born in the United States, and granted the right to vote to male citizens, regardless of "race, color, or previous condition of servitude." The Fifteenth Amendment was especially significant because for the first time in the nation's history, a minority class was empowered. "A man with a ballot in his hand is the master of the situation," wrote former abolitionist Wendell Phillips.
This hand-colored lithograph commemorates the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment and the national celebration held in Baltimore.