Following its ratification by the necessary three-quarters of U.S. states, the 14th Amendment, guaranteeing to African Americans citizenship and all its privileges, was officially adopted into the US Constitution.
Two years after the Civil War, the Reconstruction Acts of 1867 divided the South into five military districts, where new state governments, based on universal manhood suffrage, were established. Thus began the period known as Radical Reconstruction, which saw the 14th Amendment, which had been passed by Congress in 1866, ratified in July 1868. The amendment resolved pre-Civil War questions of African American citizenship by stating that "all persons born or naturalized in the United States...are citizens of the United States and of the state in which they reside." The amendment then reaffirmed the privileges and rights of all citizens, and granted all these citizens the "equal protection of the laws."