Civil War and Reconstruction

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The America we know today is a very different place than the America this country once knew during the Reconstruction period. In today’s society everybody has equal rights and opportunities to do as they please. People today have a right to do basically anything there heart desires, but years ago it was a different story. African Americans didn’t have many rights at all. The people and groups involved in Reconstruction had many different ideas for freedom and equality. In 1861 the Civil War broke out and became and on going battle for the next four years. At the end of the war 600,000 people were dead and four million slaves were freed. After the war Abraham Lincoln’s plan for Reconstruction began. With this plan Lincoln’s main goal was to bring the North and South together and bring the South back into the Union. The Civil War ended in 1865 and that same year on April 15th Lincoln was assassinated. After Lincoln’s death the 13th amendment was ratified on December 6th 1865. This amendment abolished slavery in the United States, but at the same time it still didn’t make it easy for African Americans to succeed in America. This struggle for African Americans was told in an interview of Felix Haywood a former slave from San Antonio, Texas. The slaves at that time believed that when they became free that they would become wealthier than the white people and all their worries would disappear. “We thought we was going to be richer than the white folks, ‘cause we was stronger and knowed how to work, and the whites didn’t, and they didn’t have us to work with them anymore. But it didn’t turn out that way. We soon found out that freedom could make folks proud, but it didn’t make ‘em rich.”1 Another interview with Warren McKinney a former slave from Hazen, Arkansas McKinney explains how tough it was for his people to cope with freedom. “The government gave out rations there. My ma washed and ironed. People died in piles. I don’t know till yet what...
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