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Senator Jacob Howard of Michigan, photograph by Mathew B. Brady, ca. 1870

Senator Jacob Howard of Michigan and Congressman John A. Bingham of Ohio were members of the Joint Committee on Reconstruction. Bingham was one of the authors of the joint resolution proposing the Fourteenth Amendment, drafting the section defining citizenship and protections of citizens’ rights. Bingham introduced the resolution in the House; Howard introduced it in the Senate.

Prints and Photographs, Library of Congress

Senator Jacob Howard of Michigan, photograph by Mathew B. Brady, ca. 1870

Reconstruction of the Union

After the Civil War, Congress and the executive branch struggled over when and how to bring the former Confederate states back into the Union. The Joint Committee on Reconstruction—established by Congress in December 1865 to investigate and establish conditions for seceded states to regain their congressional representation—strongly disagreed with President Andrew Johnson’s preference for quick readmission. After a yearlong study, the fifteen-member committee outlined qualifications for readmission, including ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution.