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Building a More Perfect Union: Congress, the Capitol Building and the Civil War

Congress hoped to prevent a civil war by using legislative compromises to settle contentious issues. When those compromises broke down and war broke out, Congress's focus turned to winning the war, restoring the Union, ending slavery and readmitting to representation the southern states that had supported the Confederacy. Throughout the war and its aftermath, members of Congress were swayed by strong voices calling for legislation to abolish slavery and establish citizenship rights for African Americans.