The period of Reconstruction began immediately after the Civil War and ended in 1877. This era is known for the advancements made in favor of racial equality. These improvements included the fourteenth amendment, "this law guaranteed that federal and state laws would apply equally and unequivocally to both African Americans and whites" (civil-war.ws), and the fifteenth amendment, which granted freedmen to vote. With the end of Reconstruction in 1877, the Republican Party lost control of the southern governments and the Democratic Party took over. This shift in power was supposed to mark the beginning of the "New South" in which the virtues of thrift, industry, and progress would become the model characteristics of the South. Confederates at the time saw Reconstruction as both benefiting and hurting them. They did not want northern culture to be pressured on to there society but they greatly appreciated the help in rebuilding their homes and cities in hope of a better future. Their plans and ideas for the better south looked as if to be perfect at the time but as the government would soon find out they had many flaws. The changes in the South from 1877-1900 reflected traditional attitudes and policies, such as power in the hands of a conservative oligarchy, the maintaining of agriculture over industry as the primary source of economics, and the return of white supremacy, rather than the vision of the New South. With the change in political power from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party in 1877, the South again was back to mainly all white governments which eliminated any political gains African Americans had made during Reconstruction. Democratic Party also marked a return to a powerful, conservative oligarchy, which had been the case before the Civil War. These democrats referred to themselves as the "Redeemers" but where refereed by many as "Bourbons" because of their aristocratic ways. This ruling class consisted of the former plantation owners and new...
March 8, 2006
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