Reconstruction

By: Nathan Schmitz

Civil Rights Amendments

The Thirteenth Amendment: ratified Dec. 18, 1865. Abolished slavery at the end of the Civil war.

The Fourteenth Amendment: ratified July 28, 1868. This amendment defines citizenship and prevents states from interfering in the rights of citizens of the United States.

The Fifteenth Amendment: ratified Mar. 30, 1870. It extended the right to vote to African American men.

Plans for Reconstruction

Within the government different groups had different opinions on Reconstruction

Presidents Lincoln's plans for reconstruction were not to destroy the south, but save the union. After the civil war Lincoln wanted to get the union back together and continue in the right direction. To speed this up Lincoln proposed the Proclamation of Amnesty. It gave a full pardon to all but the highest ranking officers in the south, and the 10 percent plan that when 10 percent of the states population pledge loyalty to the union they could be readmitted.

Congress had a more disciplined idea of reconstruction they did not agree with Lincoln's plan saying that the southerners would not truly be loyal, and protect former slaves. Congress instead came up with its own reconstruction plan the Wade Davis bill calling southern states to abolish slavery and delay reconstruction until a majority of states' white males took and oath of loyalty. It was vetoed by Lincoln as in flexible.

The radicals wanted the blacks to have equal rights, right away like voting and passed the amendments and bills to give them equality.

President Johnson was ill suited to control reconstruction because he favored whites. Johnson pardon all rebels except confederate office holders and the richest planters. To rejoin the union they had to nullify acts of secession, abolish slavery, and refused to pay confederate government debts.

Black Codes

The black codes varied from state to state but all aimed at preventing African Americans from gaining social, political, and economic equality. Basically the black codes were just the south's old codes that substituted the word freedom for slave. The codes had rules that did not allow blacks from having meeting without the presence of whites. Forbade blacks from traveling without permits, own guns, attend school with whites, or serve on juries. Mostly the codes re-established White control over African American labor. African Americans soon fell into long term labor contracts just to live in towns. Many were put up for action and sold for labor. It was almost a way to re-establish slavery in the south.

Racism and Discrimination

The Fifteenth Amendment allow blacks the right to vote, but did not extend to women. As congress took over reconstruction more and more blacks began to join politics to gain power.

One major hindrance on black equality was the Ku Klux Klan it was a southern secret terrorist group to prevent African Americans from voting. The klan attacked and killed anyone in the republican party or that voted for the republican party. They burned homes, schools, and churches, and stole livestock to remove black from the south. The African Americans would fight back when possible if they recognized their tormentor by voice or physical characteristics they would burn down the Klansmen's barn down. They would often group up to protect other and their property from destruction by the Klan. The blacks then turned to congress for help, so in 1870-1871 the Enforcement Acts were put in place to combat terrorism with military force.

The Fall of Reconstruction

The real cause of the end of reconstruction was the panic of 1873 which shifted the attention of the republicans from the equality of blacks in the south to the business men of the north and saving them. As more bills passed Republican supports began to see reconstruction as a burden. The Compromise of 1877 was the final dagger in reconstruction as federal troops withdrew from the south.