Effects of Reconstruction on African Americans
Reconstruction generally refers to the period in United States history immediately following the Civil War in which the federal government set the conditions that would allow the rebellious Southern states back into the Union. In 1862, Abraham Lincoln had appointed provisional military governors to re-establish governments in Southern states that were recaptured by the Union Army. The main condition for re-admittance was that at least ten percent of the voting population in 1860 had to take an oath of allegiance to the Union. Aware that the Presidential plan omitted any provision for social or economic reconstruction, the anti-slavery Congressmen in the Republican Party, known as the Radicals, criticized Lincoln’s leniency. The Radicals wanted to insure that newly freed blacks were protected and given their rights as Americans. After Lincoln’s assassination in April of 1865, President Andrew Johnson alienated Congress with his Reconstruction policy. He supported white supremacy in the South and favored pro-Union Southern political leaders who had aided the Confederacy once war had been declared.
Reconstruction of the South had positive and negative effects on both Southern Whites and African Americans. Some positive effects that Reconstruction had on African Americans were the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments that were added to the constitution. The thirteenth amendment states that neither slavery or involuntary servitude, except as punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the U.S. or any place subject to their jurisdiction. The fourteenth amendment states all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state...
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