Reconstruction Era of the United States and Lower Class Citizens

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Reconstruction Essay
The time from 1865 - 1877 was called the Reconstruction period. Abraham Lincoln started planning for the reconstruction of the South during the Civil War, he wanted to bring the Nation back together as quickly as possible and in 1863 he offered his plan for Reconstruction which required that the States new constitutions prohibit slavery. In January 1865, Congress proposed an amendment to the Constitution, which would abolish slavery in the United States. On December 18, 1865, Congress ratified the Thirteenth Amendment formally abolishing slavery. The freed slaves still didn’t have citizenship and wanted wages, real estate, and voting rights. Black codes were adopted to regulate or inhibit the migration of free African-Americans to the mid-west. Southern legislatures passed laws that restricted the civil rights of the emancipated former slaves. Other states quickly adopted their own versions of the codes, some of which were so restrictive that they resembled the old system of slavery such as forced labor for various offenses. Congress passed an act in March 1865 to establish the Freedmen’s Bureau, which was organized to provide relief and assistance to the former slaves, including health services, educational services, and abandoned land services. In 1866, the Civil Rights Act was passed by Congress, which outlined a number of civil liberties including the right to make contracts, own and sell property and receive equal treatment under
the law. Congress passed the Fourteenth Amendment in 1867. The amendment was designed to provide citizenship and civil liberties to the recently freed slaves. The first Reconstruction Act was passed by Congress in March 1867. Five military districts each under the leadership of a U.S. general were carved out in the south and new elections were held which allowed the vote to black males. In addition to the Reconstruction Acts, Congress also passed a series of bills in 1867 to limit President Johnson’s power,

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