The period of the Civil War and Reconstruction, lasting from 1860-1877, the nation underwent a multitude of powerful changes, physically and emotionally. A school of thought today exists that, “The North won the war, bur the South won reconstruction.” What does this mean exactly? When the Union defeated the Confederacy, Northerners, freemen, and existing slaves imagined a political and social revolution in which their dreams of abolition and government power would manifest itself. However, the civil rights movement within the constitution, specifically the additions of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments, brought to life the desires of the Union, but in the South such hostility and racism still existed that there was little to no change in the treatment of African Americans on a social level. Lincoln didn’t want to “punish” the South, and that reconstruction would best bring the two sides of the nation together without grandly offending anyone. This tiptoeing around the Confederacy’s wrong doings allowed Southerners to feel no sense of consequence. Despite the revolutionary changes to the constitution during the time of 1860-1877, Reconstruction failed not at igniting a social revolution of equality.
Senator Lot Morrill spoke in Congress about the Civil Rights Act of 1866 that sought to protect the rights of African Americans by the U.S. Constitution. While admitting that the bill was revolutionary, he almost denounces it when he claims that, “Every substantial change in the fundamental constitution of a country is a revolution.” Morrill understands that he is living in a world of constant change and war, and how that translates to the constitution can get lost (document F).
Constitutional change and revolution had come about through the Civil War straight into reconstruction. Beginning in 1860, when the Confederate States started succession. In document A, South Carolina declares reasons for succession being oppression from the...