Civil War & Reconstruction

Topics: Southern United States, Jim Crow laws, American Civil War Pages: 3 (869 words) Published: December 16, 2012
Political: Disenfranchisement
Economic: Agriculture (farming)
Social: Segregation

Reconstruction was a twelve-year period (1865–1877) of rebuilding that followed the Civil War (1861–1865), a conflict between the United States (the Union; states mostly located in the North) and states in the South (the Confederacy). The Confederacy took stand for their independence while the Union fought for the preservation of their region. Each conflicting side had their set goal in the Civil War. However, after the War and Reconstruction the South emerged to be profoundly different from the antebellum South. The long years of Reconstruction brought only more divisiveness and quarrels. Many political, economic, and social factors impacted all areas of southern life, such as disenfranchisement, agriculture, and segregation.

One political change that evolved after the Civil War and Reconstruction was the principle of disenfranchisement, or the denial of voting rights. The South disenfranchised black citizens in order to ensure the power of the "Solid South", a region controlled by the Democratic party. Laws were passed in each southern state to make it profoundly difficult for African Americans to vote. Various methods were used to maintain this concept. Poll taxes were initiated, where citizens had to pay a tax before voting, which most African Americans weren't able to achieve since many were poor. Other states required literacy tests. In order to vote, the person beforehand must demonstrate their ability to read and write. Although the Freedman's Bureau established an education for blacks, southern laws forced them to poorly equipped and funded schools once the organization was discontinued. African Americans lacked a basis of knowledge to pass these tests and made them ineligible to vote. Another method used if a citizen failed to pay the tax and pass the test was the grandfather clause. A citizen was qualified to vote if they had a grandfather who had previously voted...
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