America’s Post-Civil War Growing Pains
HIS105 – Contemporary US History
Professor Terry Hammons
January 26, 2013
The period of Reconstruction, Industrialization, and Urbanization held a vast amount of major turning points in US history. Of these I’ve selected a couple that I feel hold a high enough pre, during, and post era to be emphasized on within this paper.
The first I’d like to mention is the Election of 1868. This was the first time African Americans had an outright legal ability to vote for presidential office. It is determined that some 500,000 blacks voted in this election (D. Alexander, 2004). Grant won the election with 3,013,790 popular votes and 214 electoral votes (David Leip, 2012). This shows Ulysses Grant ran very closely in popular votes to the democratic candidate Horatio Seymour’s 2,708,980 popular vote totals. The election came to the House of Representatives for a decision. The popular vote numbers may have been significantly larger for Candidate Ulysses Grant had it not been for the ongoing Southern Confederate loyalists use of fear and intimidation tactics on would be African American voters. Many were driven away from the voting booths by means of violence, aggression, and threats. While this electoral win couldn’t predict whether or not this would be a favorable win over the struggle against racism and reconstruction, it was an immediate triumph towards the rights, political expression, and political influence of the freed slaves. This began a new trend that would carry on through the following eras, and even up to present times in regards to diversity of culture, race, religion, and sex having a stronger voice in matters of political, social, cultural, and economic affairs. These once “silent citizens” could now be heard by the masses and attempt to regain a sustainable and gainful livelihood for themselves and their family.
The early African American voters paved the way for our modern...