Reconstruction readmitting them into the Union, and defining

Reconstruction post Civil War took place between the years 1863 to 1877 and was the rebuilding of a broken America. Although a lot was put into this remodel, many believed it was of no help. However, some feel the country would not be the same without it. There is no clear answer to whether one of these arguing sides is right or not. There are many pros and cons that can further develop a sense to which side of this quarrel is correct. The purpose of Reconstruction was to bring America together after being torn apart at the brinks of war.

Several loyal Americans that stuck besides the Union during the war looked down upon the former confederate traders that were so quick to turn on them. Southerners also had to learn to live in a post slavery society. Slaves forced to live alongside those they used to call master, they were forced to live alongside those who used to whip, beat, and dehumanize them. In the article “Reconstruction and Its Aftermath” the author writes, “The Reconstruction implemented by Congress, which lasted from 1866 to 1877, was aimed at reorganizing the Southern states after the Civil War, providing the means for readmitting them into the Union, and defining the means by which whites and blacks could live together in a nonslave society. The South, however, saw Reconstruction as a humiliating, even vengeful imposition and did not welcome it” (African American Odyssey). Reconstruction was here to help bring the people back together, to make it a Union once more. A few of the first acts made to kickstart Reconstruction were the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments; these amendments gave blacks in America the right of freedom, citizenship, and the right to vote. These acts were a huge positive for former slaves.

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They were finally free and, by definition, could call themselves Americans. However, it was not all good; even though this was the new “law’, southerners did not see them as anything more than their previous serfs, and did not acknowledge all the rights they had been given. In the article “Black Codes” the author wrote, “Though the Union victory had given some 4 million slaves their freedom, the question of freed blacks’ status in the postwar South was still very much unresolved. Under black codes, many states required blacks to sign yearly labor contracts; if they refused, they risked being arrested, fined and forced into unpaid labor. Outrage over black codes helped undermine support for President Andrew Johnson and the Republican Party” (2010). The black codes were a list of laws made by Southerners in order to keep the African American population from using the rights they were given.

Southerners were very against acknowledging them as people let alone citizens, therefore they took every chance possible to put them down. Reconstruction had its ups and downs, however, overall was not the biggest success. Although the era of Reconstruction granted former slaves freedom as well as citizenship, it did not rid of the engraved mindset Americans had when it came to living in a post slave society.


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