The Reconstruction Era
American History Since 1865
Professor Tim Johnston
August 2, 2010
The Reconstruction Era
The reconstruction era was a difficult time for the African American slaves from 1865 to 1877 because the slaves were freed and there were no jobs for them, had very little or no education, and had very limited opportunity in the south. Reconstruction was one of the most critical periods in American History. The Civil War changed the nation tremendously, and most importantly by bringing an end to slavery. Reconstruction was a period of great promise, hope, and progress for African Americans, and a period of resentment and resistance for many white southerners. The time period for the Reconstruction era was in 1865 to 1877, when the United States was rebuilding and reuniting after the Civil War. In 1865, four years of brutal deconstruction in the Civil War came to an end, 600,000 American soldiers lost their lives. Four million enslaved African Americans were emancipated. The south was laid to waste; railroads, factories, farms, and cities were destroyed. Abraham Lincoln was elected president during that time. Abraham Lincoln knew once the states confederacy were restored to the union, the Republicans would be weakened unless they put an end to being a sectional party. Lincoln hoped for peace and to attract people of the former south who supported the Republicans' economic policies. During the Era of Reconstruction, it was highly unstable because while many Northerners saw this as a chance to completely end slavery and have the south merged back into the United States, many in the south saw this as an insult and another injury of the loss of the Civil War.
Lincoln's plans during this time were to free more slaves and grant freedom. At the end of the Reconstruction Era, freedoms were granted under the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments, but were not completely effective.
The moral views through religions before and after the war of the north and south Reconstruction 3
were different. With different opinions flowing, the Presbyterian and Methodist churches split into Northern and Southern functions. The Southern churches supported slavery and believed that it was also supported by the Bible. The north believed that no man should be held in captivity or confinement by another man.
The north wanted to end slavery but still most of the Northerner did not consider the black man to be equal to them. There were some Northerners that did believe all men are created equal. Some Northerners showed strong emotions about the eradication of slavery that they became violent. Most of the Northerners did not change after the war, which caused the segregation that continued until the 1960's.
In 1865, the Ku Klux Klan was started in Tennessee to stop blacks from taking advantage of their new rights. Members from the Ku Klux Klan would beat and murder blacks to keep them from having rights.
Northern soldiers were stationed in the south to enforce the Reconstruction laws. The soldiers made sure blacks could vote in elections, be treated just like the white people, go to school, and they were also there to prevent any attacks from happening by the southern whites.
In 1869, the Southern governments started to end control by the North in Tennessee and Virginia. Some of the power of the Southerners was regained to run their own state governments, which made the Northerners have less influence on the southern governments. The reason for the southerners joining the Ku Klux Klan was because they did not want blacks to have rights such as voting, owning land, freedom, be treated fairly at jobs, participate in court trials, run for office, etc..
Southern white people were not for reconstructing governments. They would not accept the black men that were once slaves as free black men who now had the right to Reconstruction 4