The History of Reconstruction

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The History of Reconstruction
Shortly after the Civil War, the United States found their country in disarray. “It had just endured four years of civil war, a period in which the Union northern states fought against the Confederate southern states.” (Bowles, 2011). This war brought about the Reconstruction period that was primarily focused on bringing the North and the South together and to enable African Americans to have freedom and equal rights as citizens of the United States. Reconstruction is “The period that was primarily from 1865 to 1877 in American history in which the North and South attempted to re-unite after the civil war and address the issues of integrating freed slaves into society.” (Bowles, 2011). Unfortunately, the Southern states were not as willing to make changes towards ending slavery. Many people felt the decision to free or continue using slaves should be their own states right to decide, rather than allowing the federal government to make these decisions for them. “Although African Americans were supposed to be free, southerners found other ways of keeping them as close to slavery as possible.” (Slavery by another Name, n.d.). One of the ways they were able to continue new forms of slavery, were through what the south referred to as “Black Codes.” These codes allowed them to marry, but not outside of their own race. They were unable to own firearms, and they could only work on farms. African Americans were not able to travel outside of their area, and the vagrancy clause enabled the South to remain in some form of control of the ex-slaves. “The most devastating aspect was the vagrancy clause, stating that if a freed slave did not perform work in accordance with these laws, they could be put in jail or “loaned” out for enforced work, which is another term for slavery.” (Bowles, 2011).

The Civil Rights Act of 1866, which states; “…That all persons born in the United States and not subject to any foreign power, excluding...
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