Economic, Social, and Political Effects of the Reconstruction Era

Topics: Reconstruction era of the United States, American Civil War, Southern United States Pages: 2 (782 words) Published: October 25, 2012
Prompt: What were the long-term economic, social, and political effects of Reconstruction? The United States was challenged with many issues after the Civil War like crop lien work contracts, segregation, and unresolved problems with the seceded states. This period was called Reconstruction. After the Civil War, African Americans were free but with no place to live in or to work at, they settled with their former ‘masters’. African Americans were technically free, but no one wanted to hire a colored man, so they were put on crop lien work contracts. These contracts allowed African Americans to work and gain a ‘share’ of the harvest. Sounds like a deal right? Wrong. At the end of the harvest a black man would receive his share but the white plantation owner would deduct money for all the tools the black man used, or for the food the black man ate, or for the tenant the black man sheltered himself in. At the end of the deductions, the black man would be in debt of the white man and would be forced to work another harvest since Black Codes prevented freedmen from owing money. This new labor system was just another way for the South to enslave African Americans once again, an economic effect of Reconstruction that wasn’t resolved until at least a hundred years later. African Americans, shortly known as Freedmen in 1865, were placed under black codes and disenfranchised. Black Codes prohibited these freedmen from renting any land or borrowing money, meaning that most freedmen were homeless and broke. Ninety percent of these vagrant freedmen were illiterate so they were tricked into share cropping. Unfortunately, the Black Codes also prohibited freedmen from testifying against a white person so they couldn’t really complain about any living or working conditions they were in. In addition to not having a proper workplace or residence, freedmen faced disenfranchisement. When the Ku Klux Klan(KKK) emerged, many blacks stopped expressing their right to vote. If the...
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