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America’s Post Civil War Growing Pains
J. Jones-Herbert
Contemporary U.S. History105

1. Identify two major historical turning points in the period under discussion. There were two major historical turning points during this period; Reconstruction and the Industrial Revolution. With the end of the Civil War in 1865 came the Reconstruction Era which lasted until 1877. During this time the federal government attempted to resolve the issues that resulted from the ending of the Civil War. Although physical rebuilding of the region began quickly and rapidly progressed, reconstructing southern society proved to be a much more difficult process. The two major concerns were from the political stand point on how to integrate rebel states back into the nation and from the social stand point on how to integrate 4 million newly freed slaves back into society. In 1863 as an attempt to bring the South back into the nation, Lincoln issued his Ten-Percent Plan, which offered amnesty to any southerner who proclaimed loyalty to the Union and support of the emancipation of slaves; once 10 percent of a state’s voters in the election of 1860 signed the oath, it could create a new state government and reenter the Union. (Shultz, 2012) After Lincolns Assassination, Andrew Johnson became president, during his time in office he granted amnesty and pardoned more than 13,000 Confederates that took part in the rebellion. By his actions in office President Johnson showed no concern for the future of black people in America. (Shultz, 2012) Most of the new southern state governments returned confederate leaders to political power that then created a set of laws called black codes that were modeled along the lines of the slave codes that existed before the Civil War. These new laws completely separated black Americans from white Americans and lasted for at least a century. Although Reconstruction of the South did have some significant achievements, including two new constitutional amendments, the passage of the nation’s first civil rights law and the abolition of slavery, it was, for the most part, a failure. For decades African Americans in the south existed as neither slaves nor free. (Shultz, 2012) After the Civil War, Americans turned their attention to the transformation in the way goods were made and sold. American businessmen between 1865 and 1915 used continuing technological breakthroughs and creative financing to bring greater efficiency to their businesses, which dramatically expanded their markets and their ability to produce goods. (Shultz, 2012) This period became known as the Industrial Revolution. Two key social transitions resulted from this transformation; cities beagn to grow rapidly due to so many Americans leaving farming to work in factories or retail and large scale corporate firms began to dominate the American economy over family businesses. Thus, many historians cite the late nineteenth century as the birth of modern industrialized America. (Shultz, 2102) There were three main reasons American industrialization expanded when it did 1) the surplus of production needs during the Civil War such as food, clothing, weapons etc. 2) Congress passing a series of internal improvement projects such as the first continental railroad and 3)an abundance of scientific developments for example with the abundance of troops needing to be fed there was a need to move meat from one place to another which prompted the creation of the refrigerated railroad cars. The three central industries of the Industrial Revolution were railroads, steel and petroleum. Between 1860 and 1915 total railroad development went from 30,000 miles to more than 250,000 miles and by the end of 1914 the national railroad network was basically complete. Railroads spanned the nation, making the movement of goods and products easy, cheap and reliable. (Shultz, 2012) The huge expansion of railroads would not have been possible without the steel industry. Andrew...
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