Democratic Congressman David Wilmot submitted an amendment to a military appropriations bill prohibiting slavery in any territory acquired from Mexico. The proviso passed the House twice but was defeated in the Senate.
Congress passed the Lend-Lease Act, which allowed any country “whose defense the President deems vital to the defense of the United States” to receive arms and equipment from the United States by sale, transfer, or lease.
In 1870, Hiram Revels became the first African American to serve in Congress. As an African American, he was not alone in serving in government during Reconstruction. Between 1865 and 1877, many African Americans served in state and local politics. Fourteen black men served in the House of Representatives between 1869 and 1877, six served as lieutenant governors, and more than 600 served in southern state legislatures. Reconstruction’s end in 1877, however, allowed white southerners to push African Americans out of government.
Congress adopted the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as “a legal union between one man and one woman” and affirmed the right of states to refuse recognition of same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.