From Slavery to Freedom

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Hale County, Alabama: From Slavery to Freedom in a Black Belt Community. The Politics of Reconstruction The Civil War was bloodiest war in American history (600,000 soldiers died). It began as way to preserve Union but evolved into a struggle for African American freedom, resulting in the death of slavery in the United States and the unification of the states under a stronger central government. The Defeated South South destroyed after defeat: towns ruined, slavery (means of labor in cotton fields) lost, destroyed cotton fields, depressed economyii. Defeat aroused hatred within Southerners, whom were "robbed of their slave property"iii. Racism became one of the main forces in the South during Reconstruction Abraham Lincoln's PlanLincoln wanted to respect private property (excluding slaves) and did not want to impose harsh punishments on the South for rebellion Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction of Dec. 1863: Southerners (except Confederate military leaders) had to swear an oath of allegiance to the US and its laws (including the Emancipation Proclamation) in order to be pardoned and offered restoration of property 2. Ten Percent Plan: When 10 percent of a state's population took this oath, Lincoln would recognize the formation of a new state government in that state ii. Radical Republicans, such as Benjamin Wade and Henry Davis) favored the abolition of slavery at the beginning of the war, but later advocated harsh treatment of the defeated South. Lincoln vetoed the Wade-Davis Bill, which required 50 percent of a seceding state's white male citizens to take the loyalty oath before the state could form its constitution, and it also guaranteed equality before the law for former slaves iii. Sherman's Special Field Order 15 of 1865 set aside 400,000 acres of abandoned Southern land for forty-acre grants to freedmen iv. The Republican Party prevented the development of a land distribution system, but supported other methods to

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