The goal of the reconstruction politically was to integrate Southern states/rebel states back into the U.S., and socially was to integrate the freed slave population to the society. However, ex-confederates of the South resisted this because of the fear of complete turnover of their lives, and to maintain the social hierarchy, where African Americans remained at the bottom by default due to their race. Several organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan were formed to resist reconstruction and preserve white supremacy. Congress responded to the resistance by establishing the Freedmen 's Bureau, whose aimed was to build public schools and universities, provide food and medical care, political equality between blacks and whites and equal access to the judicial system. Lincoln planned to be lenient
When thinking about the civil war, one of the first things that comes to mind is how did everything end up afterwards. Did things go back to normal? How long did it take to rebuild? Was the reconstruction of the south success or failure? 2 years before the Confederacy formally surrendered the Union began reconstruction.
Although slavery was declared over after the passing of the thirteenth amendment, African Americans were not being treated with the respect or equality they deserved. Socially, politically and economically, African American people were not being given equal opportunities as white people. They had certain laws directed at them, which held them back from being equal to their white peers. They also had certain requirements, making it difficult for many African Americans to participate in the opportunity to vote for government leaders. Although they were freed from slavery, there was still a long way to go for equality through America’s reconstruction plan.
The American Civil War that was started due to the controversy over slavery in 1861, was won by The Union supported by President Lincoln against the Confederate states. President Lincoln’s original goal during the civil war was to reunify the nation as quickly as possible and help both sides come to an understanding. After the Civil War ended in 1865, the newly formed United States’ reconstruction era began. The Reconstruction era was put into effect by the Congress in 1866 and lasted until 1877. The Union’s victory in the Civil War had given African Americans a new sense of hope, devastated the southern economy, and eased the history of disunity in American political life.
Reconstruction caused prejudice and inequality. To elaborate, the creation of the Ku Klux Klan and the Black Codes were both in the time period of reconstruction, which caused chaos and violence throughout the Union. One of the goals of reconstruction was to repair the economy in the South, because it depended on slavery, which was now illegal, due to the thirteenth amendment. The South’s economic system now depended on Sharecropping, which caused former slaves to be in constant debt and was unjust to the black society. The reconstruction time period, was a time of dispute between the Union.
The Reconstruction Era of American history was plagued by many problems. One of the most important problems being the recently released from slavery Freedmen. Freedmen were in a tricky situation in which they had just been released from their owner and had nowhere to go, but the Federal Government made many successful attempts to help them out. The Government helped alleviate all the problems Freedmen had from their finances to basic needs and rights, and in doing so, made the period of reconstruction more helpful than harmful for Freedmen. The events of reconstruction were helpful to freedmen as they were not only freed from slavery, they were given rights directly from the federal government.
You can see how reconstruction was supposed to help the newly freed slaves while the definition of reconstruction says that it was, “ensuring the rights and protection of the newly freed African Americans,” (Terms to know, On reconstruction.) This shows how some of the intentions of reconstruction were supposed to help bring newly freed slaves safely into the society. The newly freed slaves would have been fond of the idea of being brought safely into the society. You can see this again when it says, “Presidential reconstruction began in 1865 with the ratification() passing of the thirteenth amendment freeing slaves, and continued lincoln’s signature of the bill that created the Freedmen's Bureau. The Bureau was to feed both black and whites in the south, establish schools to teach former slaves to read and write, help them find paying jobs, and shield them from discrimination,” (Stage One: Presidential reconstruction 1865 - 1866.)
Angela Davis Once said “Well for one, The 13th Amendment to the constitution of the U.S. which abolished slavery, did not abolish slavery for those convicted of a crime.” Although the amendment was desperately needed it made more problems for the U.S.The thirteenth amendment was about abolishing slavery. Many people had different opinions about this amendment. The amendment affected our nation dramatically. The 13th amendment to the United States Constitution says that, "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
The thirteenth amendment stated that all former slaves were granted freedom. The reconstruction period, “did create the essential constitutional foundation for further advances in the quest for equality”. It laid the building blocks for the future building for civil rights not just for blacks but women and other minorities. Former slaves, “ found comfort in their family and in the churches they established”. Blacks took community in each other and bonded over the mutual idea of freedom .
The Civil War and the period of Reconstruction brought significant political, social, and economic changes to American society, and these effects continued into the 20th century. Post Civil War (After the Civil War – The period after the Civil War) - President Abraham Lincoln and Congress were determined to rebuild the nation. Lincoln wanted to restore the Union by readmitting the southern states that had seceded, as well as provide African Americans with more rights. Period of Conflict -
But, when these officials were elected to Congress, they passed the “black codes” and thus the relations between the president and legislators became worst (Schriefer, Sivell and Arch R1). These so called “Black Codes” were “a series of laws to deprive blacks of their constitutional rights” that they were enacted mainly by Deep South legislatures. Black Codes differ from a state to another but they were stricter in the Deep South as they were sometimes irrationally austere. (Hazen 30) Furthermore, with the emergence of organizations such as the Red Shirts and the White League with the rise of the Conservative White Democrats’ power, efforts to prevent Black Americans from voting were escalating (Watts 247), even if the Fifteenth Amendment to the U.S constitution that gave the Blacks the right to vote had been ratified in 1870.
Sources Analysis Freedom During the Reconstruction era, the idea of freedom could have many different meanings. Everyday factors that we don't often think about today such as the color of our skin, where we were born, and whether or not we own land determined what limitations were placed on the ability to live our life to the fullest. To dig deeper into what freedom meant for different individuals during this time period, I analyzed three primary sources written by those who experienced this first hand. These included “Excerpts from The Black Codes of Mississippi” (1865), “Jourdan Anderson to his old master” (1865), and “Testimony on the Ku Klux Klan in Congressional Hearing” (1872).
Positive gains from the Reconstruction Era include: Freedmen’s Bureau: food, Medicare, and legal advice granted to newly freed African Americans; 13th, 14th, and 15th amendment which abolished slavery, granted citizenship to everyone born in the U.S, and granting everyone the right to vote. Negative effects from the Reconstruction Era include: the KKK: a group of whites who threatened blacks so they wouldn’t vote, and killed many; Black Codes: laws that limited the freedom from U.S citizens. The effects of the Reconstruction, which linger in our society nowadays, are the three amendments passed by congress, the Civil Rights act of 1866, and black schools and universities were established; most importantly, we are once again a unified
Peter Schroeder Dr. Christopher Marshall Modern United States History 2/2/17 Writing Assignment 1: The African-American Experience with Reconstruction Reconstruction among the south refers to the point in time which the United States was attempting to establish a relationship between the union and the rebels. The Union had won the civil war, so the next step was to begin to mend the broken relationship between the north and the south. Though historians cannot agree on when it began, there is merit in saying that it started before the end of the Civil War. After victory, had been solidified for the Union, attention of President Lincoln turned towards reconstruction.
Post Civil War, African Americans started to gain rights to gain rights, and soon gain rights equal to whites. While there were some people/things standing in their way (KKK, Black Codes), in the end they got what they needed; Equality. Many acts and laws were passed to aid the new rights now held by African Americans, as well as the numerous people willing to help. New Amendments were added to give African Americans rights after the war, all giving them some equal rights to whites. The first of the three added was the Thirteenth Amendment, it gave African Americans freedom from slave owners, and stated that no one could be kept as a slave in the U.S..