February 1st, 2016
Reconstruction was a time era, 1863 to 1877, in American history where there was an attempt to resolve issues from the Civil War. It was a period of putting back the pieces. The Confederacy and slavery were demolished and the development of the Constitution strengthened the rights of citizens. The movement tackled the return of southern states that had estranged, the status of previous confederate leaders, and the Constitutional status of the African-Americans. Controversy on how to handle the situations and by the 1870s Reconstruction had been considered a failure for the lack of equally integrating the recently ...view middle of the document...
In December 1863, Lincoln presented his plan, which required that the States prohibit slavery. Congress proposed Lincoln’s amendment and eventually Congress ratified the 13th amendment that led to the abolishment of slavery. The Civil War ended in 1865 and Lincoln was assassinated shortly after. Johnson took over and continued Lincoln’s policies until announcing his own plans for Reconstruction that included vows of loyalty to the Nation and the abolishment of slavery that Southern states had to take before being able to be readmitted to the Nation. Some states passed laws to restrict the civil rights of African Americans. Southern states passed “Black Codes” that denied African-Americans rights to buy or lease real estate, to refuse to sign yearly labor contracts, to serve on juries, to testify against whites in court, and to vote. Congress combated this by passing the Civil Rights Act, which gave rights to newly freed slaves. Congress then passed the 14th Amendment in 1867 it provided citizenship and civil liberties to the recently freed slaves. The Republican Congress attempted for a while to turn back the white repression. Thus came about the Ku Klux Klan acts, which came about to be considered one of the most radical measures of the era (Brinkley, 426). The KKK Acts prohibited the states from discriminating against voters because of their race and gave federal government power to supersede the state courts and prosecute violations of the law. “It was the first time the federal government had ever claimed the power to prosecute crimes by individuals under federal law,” (Brinkley, 426). District attorneys were able to take action against conspiracies to deny any African-Americans their rights. The new laws also allowed for the military to protect civil rights. In 1871, President Grant sent federal troops to nine counties in South Carolina who were declared a “state of lawlessness”. The areas were suspected of Klan members and hundreds were arrested. The Enforcement Act, KKK Acts, were effective in the effort to weaken the KKK. The first Reconstruction Act allowed for new elections that gave African Americans the ability to vote. Johnson was eventually impeached while trying to subvert the anti-racist settlement and was nearly convicted. Black freedmen were the most numerous in the South and although they had no previous experience in politics, they tried to build institutions so that they could learn to exercise their power (Brinkley, 419). Freedmen began to hold colored conventions to chart their future course. Black churches were also created and helped with the unity and political self-confidence. African-Americans played a vital role in the Reconstruction of the South. Many served as delegates to the constitutional conventions (Brinkley, 419). Many also held public offices of almost every kind. The government had to rebuild the South’s infrastructure and attempt to satisfy the demand for government services by raising taxes in a sever...