Essay On Reconstruction Dbq

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After Lincoln’s election as America’s next president, Southern states feared the abolition of slavery despite Lincoln’s promise to only prevent the expansion of slavery. Following this fear, many Southern states seceded from the Union and created the Confederate States of America. Not surprisingly, Lincoln refused to give up the Union’s land to its traitors and enemies. Eventually, this disagreement sparked war between the two territories and countless battles followed. After hundreds of thousands of lives lost and millions of acres of land destroyed, the Union came out victorious, proved its ability to preserve itself, and freed all black people. Now, the largest and most difficult question arose: How do we reconstruct our country? Throughout …show more content…

Following this rational, Congress passed the 15th Amendment which decided that voting rights cannot be restricted on basis of race, color, or previous servitude (Document D). As a result, black male citizens could now vote and held a preference to voting for Republicans. However, this amendment was not heavily enforced and as a result, Southerners used intimidation and violence to sway elections in their favor, forcing black citizens to vote democratic instead (Document A). KKK members, prestige members of Southern society, would often threaten, harm, and kill black citizens to win elections. In response to these acts of violence, Congress passed the Enforcement Acts. On paper, these acts allowed national government to supervise state and national elections and send federal troops to KKK-active locations. Unfortunately, these acts were loosely enforced, and innocent black citizens were subject to horrific forms of violence and domination from the KKK. Without strong enforcement of black protection, Southern whites dominated their supposed “inferior counterparts”. One example is the implementation of the 14th amendment which was meant to protect black citizens and provide life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, along with equal protection of law (Document C). Congress failed to provide an equal chance of life and liberty to its black population by failing to provide land …show more content…

One way of degrading black citizens was through Black Codes, which counties implemented to keep blacks away from their settlement or to control them. For example, some rules include that blacks cannot come within limits of town without permission from white employers, own land, organize public meetings, carry firearms, and must be in service of white men (Document E). Through these rules, white citizens reinforce the idea of sharecropping to practically own black farmers. Sharecropping is the idea that black farmers use land from white farmers but must pay back their debt and a certain percentage of profit. Using deceit, white farmers forced black farmers into a never-ending cycle of increasing debt and miserable life. Despite constantly fearing mob rule, Congress seemed to have no concern over the increasingly popular idea of lynching in the South. Even though the 14th Amendment declared equal protection under law, blacks were lynched and sentenced to death without complaint under oath, trial by jury, or any defense (Document F). Yet again, Congress’s progress towards black protection is seen only as paper victories with no immediate

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