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Constitution of 1865

At the Civil War’s end, President Andrew Johnson set guidelines for the former Confederate states to gain readmission to the Union. During an eighteen-day convention in the summer of 1865, delegates wrote a new governing document for a war-torn Alabama. Following President Johnson’s guidelines, the constitution banned the institution of slavery. It conferred some legal rights upon formerly enslaved people but did not provide for suffrage. The delegates further invalidated the 1861 ordinance of secession and repudiated the state’s $20 million war debt.

Ruins of the Selma Ordnance and Naval Foundry, burned by Union Troops after the April 2, 1865, Battle of Selma

Alabama Department of Archives and History

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