African Americans in the Reconstruction Era

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The Reconstruction era was put into effect by Congress in 1866 and lasted until 1877. Reconstruction was aimed at reorganizing the Southern states after the Civil War. The reconstruction plan granted the means for readmitting the southern states into the Union, and tried to come up with the methods by which whites and blacks could live together in a non-slave society. America's position as a country was established on principles of freedom but those beliefs were weakened by slavery. At the end of the Civil War, many blacks felt that they were entitled to start collecting the benefits that had been denied for so many years. Being able to vote, own land and have a voice in political affairs were all goals that they believed were reachable. The white, however, saw reconstruction as an embarrassing, revengeful annoyance and did not welcome it. Reconstruction was meant to give the blacks a chance for a new and better life.
Many of the African Americans stayed with their old masters after being freed, while others left in search of opportunities through education and land ownership. The Southern white conservatives did not want blacks to own property, have political power, or have the right to vote in elections. In addition, the whites strongly believed that they were superior, and they worked hard to make sure legal limitations were in place to prevent the blacks from gaining any type of equality or power. President Johnson's reconstruction plan included the black codes, which stated that the African-Americans were required to have a curfew and carry identification on their persons at all time. These regulations also bound the 'freedmen' to their plantations. The freed slaves merely wanted the opportunity to continue the family-based shared work methods contrary to having to accept the individual piecework structure. Former slaves wanted to be able to continue to live on the land their ancestors had farmed.

African american's lives were improved in many ways



References: 1. www.digitalhistory.uh.edu 2. wikipedia.org 3. http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Black+Codes 4. http://www.loc.gov

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