The Reconstruction

By Kyra Grandall

The Amendments

The 13th Amendment abolished slavery and was ratified in December of 1865. The 14th Amendment guaranteed the rights and security of freed people and was ratified in July 1868. Southern states denied the right to vote to black citizens and are punished because of it. The 15th Amendment gave all men the right to vote and was ratified in 1870. This caused an uproar of women's rights groups to become upset because they did not gain the right to vote.

Plans For Reconstruction

President Lincoln's plan for reconstruction was the 10% plan. This plan included pardon to all but high ranking officers and when 10% of the voting population in 1860 had taken an oath of loyalty and established a government it would be allowed back in to the Union. Lincoln did not discuss this with Congress. This would also involve replacing majority rule with loyal rule.

President Johnson's plan was called the 10%+ plan. This plan only required a simple oath and new constitutions. The problem with this plan was it brought former aristocrats back to political power to control the states organization. This people were the ones who had slaves and were part of the reason the civil war began.

Congress's plan was the Radical Reconstruction plan. This plan said that civil authorities in the territories were subject to military supervision.

The Black Codes

The Black Codes were laws that limited the freedom of former slaves but in every state were different. They didn't want the African Americans to achieve social, political, or economic equality. The African Americans could not hold meetings with out a white member present, they could not travel without permits, own guns, go to school with whites, or be on a jury. The Black Codes also gave whites power over African American labor again. Sometimes African Americans couldn't live in towns unless they were renting land outside of town or a servant. Some African Americans were forced to fill out long term labor contracts. The codes allowed kids to be taken from their parents if the judge thought the parents were unable to take care of them themselves. These codes left African Americans in almost the same standings they were in prior to the Reconstruction.

Racism and Discrimination Against African Americans

Voting rights were taking away from African Americans in the South even with the 15th Amendment. They weren't not allowed to vote though. It was taking away through the South passing poll taxes and requiring literacy tests. The African Americans had no job and no income and they didn't have an education so these were both problems. Ku Klux Klan was another problem for African Americans because this was a group of people who were against African Americans and would be violent towards them and kill large amounts of African American citizens and anyone who was on their side. The African Americans tried to protect their rights by gathering and burning barns of the members of the Klan. Some even stood up to the Klan at a school house the Ku Klux Klan was planning to burn down. They also demanded congress to help them so Congress passed the Enforcement Acts.

The End of the Reconstruction

The election of 1876 had an impact on the end of the reconstruction because candidates had different views on Reconstruction and what they were going to do with the Reconstruction when they were elected. The votes of the election were challenged in many states this led to problems and crisis. The Compromise of 1877 ended the crisis and marked the end of the Reconstruction because it caused a fall of the Reconstruction governments.