The Success and Failure of Reconstruction

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Ruins of lives and buildings, shattered by the process of war and what it came from, held together by the promise of victory. Hope, however, did not affect the South’s fate. Confederates lost the battle and the government did not affirm the rights they so desired. War has left every life decimated. Newly freed men and white plantation owners, alike, find it difficult to adapt to a world without slavery. The Civil War left no man unscathed. Before the war ends, citizens elect Abraham Lincoln as president of the Union. September twenty-second of 1862, he issues the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. Lincoln declares all black men who fight for the Confederacy free. Later, in 1863, he makes every slave in designated parts of the South free. Lincoln writes those included and not included as, “ARKANSAS, TEXAS, LOUISIANA -- except the Parishes of St. Bernard, Plcquemines, Jefferson, St. John, St. C[???]s, St. James, Ascension Assumption, Terre [???]ne, Lafourche, St. Mary, St. Martin, and O[???]ns, including the City of New-Orleans -- MISSISSIPPI, ALABAMA FLORIDA, GEORGIA, SOUTH CAROLINA, NORTH CAROLINA and VIRGINIA -- except the forty-eight counties designated as West Virginia, and also the counties of Berkley, Accomac, Northampton, Elizabeth City, York, Princess Ann and Norfolk, including the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth, and which excepted parts, are for the present, left precisely as if this proclamation were not issued.” In 1863, Lincoln institutes his Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction. He believes that the states that have seceded from the Union will want to return, once the Union wins the war. The proclamation states, in order for them to do so, ten percent of the population who voted in the elections of 1860 must take an oath of loyalty to the Union. When an individual has done that, he will receive a “full pardon and restoration of rights (except as to slaves).”

In her diary, Kate Stone writes, “The Negroes demanded high wages, from $20 to...
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