Expansion of Government Power During the Civil War and Reconstruction
Contrary to what I believed in the past, the United States federal government retained and expanded their power and authority during the years of the Civil war along with the period of Reconstruction. Through drafts and monitored elections, they exercised this power during the Civil War. Then, as Reconstruction began, they initiated other methods of increasing their authority over the citizens. Military was placed in Southern states, by the federal government, in order to keep control over the rebellious people. Not only that, but, the idea of putting the federal government in charge of Reconstruction and rebuilding an entire nation gave them an enormous amount of power. Finally, the creation of the 14th and 15th Amendment were two more big achievements on the part of the government.
In the month of April of 1862, the government issued the first draft of the Civil War. Throughout the war, they put out drafts because so many men were needed to fight. Citizens were expected to obey these orders, and as the war progressed, it was harder and harder for men to avoid fighting for their country. Towards the end, the government began forcing almost every able man to enlist in the army. Men of ages 17-50 were drafted in the South (20-45 in the North); bodies were needed. And the government made sure that they got what they needed.
Along with drafts, the federal government also monitored elections in order to control who the people were voting for. Ballots only contained candidates which were appropriate according to the government, and various colored slips were associated with the different nominees. Everyone could see what color slip everyone else was holding, and people holding slips that they "weren't supposed to" were later caught and punished.
The power of the federal government can also be seen during Lincoln's presidency at the time of the Civil War. He swayed the entire...
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