Beginning with the 'black codes' established by President Johnson's reconstruction plan, blacks were required to have a curfew as well as carry identification. Labor contracts established under Johnson's Reconstruction even bound the 'freedmen' to their respective plantations. A few years later, another set of laws known as the 'Jim Crow' laws directly undermined the status of blacks by placing unfair restrictions on everything from voting rights all the way to the segregation of water fountains. Besides these restrictions, the blacks had to deal with the Democratic Party whose northern wing even denounced racial equality. As a result of democratic hostility and the Republican Party's support of Black suffrage, freedmen greatly supported the Republican Party.
Johnson then once again gave the Southern states freedom to run their state governments. People believed that Johnson was ignoring the former slaves’ rights. This became more and more evident, as the Black Codes began to form in the South. These were the many laws confining the African Americans to what some thought to be slavery except in name. In 1865, when Johnson declared reconstruction to be over, many Republicans, appalled at this, took action by refusing to seat Southerners that had recently been elected into Congress.
This act was supported by Southerners which lead to the North becoming more worried about ending slavery. In 1857 salves legal status was debated in Dred Scott verses Sandford, when a free slave argued for his freedom. His argument was that he had lived where slavery was prohibited by the Missouri Compromise. Scott lost the case because Congress had no power to control slavery there.
He ran against Stephen Douglas and the Lincoln-Douglas Debates are the most famous political debates to this day. Douglas was not for the abolition of slavery; he believed that the government should not “regulate the relations between master and servant.” (Fiero 392) This brought in a good number of votes for him but didn’t agree with the majority of people in the north. Lincoln went with the honest route. Lincoln was for the abolition of slavery and as a compromise he talked about relocating them back to Africa. He wanted all men to have their unalienable rights but still felt they were not as good as whites.
They were still not considered equals by many whites in the South or in the North, thus would not be employed by them in other businesses. While they were free from slavery by all accounts it was a false freedom. For former slaves, the Reconstruction plan brought great promise for their individual rights, secured freedom and new opportunities. The Reconstruction period was initially designed by Lincoln to be a time of rebuilding the South. Reconstruction was to aid the South in rebuilding infrastructure damaged in the war but also to help people reconcile the cultural, social and economic changes that came with the end of slavery.
Others were more combative in their dealings, hoping that militancy would force whites to surrender unto blacks their basic rights. Those who remained thought that progress was not plausible wherever they were, thus a physical vacation would be essential to escape confinement and oppressive attitudes toward blacks. In spite of their differing approaches, the discrepancies amongst blacks were bound by a common interest: to ensure a more promising and progressive future for the entirety of all African Americans. Foremost, in order to comprehend the complexity of the African American dilemma, it is essential to understand their preceding history. Before the outbreak of the Civil War, fought from 1861 until 1865, blacks were bound by the callousness of slavery.
(OI) This historic event concluded the government's efforts for reconstruction in the south which as a whole had ultimately failed. The era of Reconstruction had intended to mend the problems resulting from the American Civil War. Unfortunately, southern Radicalists made enormous efforts to prevent this as they believed in white supremacy. These Radicalists did not want to permit African Americans the ability to vote however they were forced to when accepting readmission into the Union under the Fourteenth Amendment. To counter this, these confederates created "Black Codes" to ensure racial segregation and even forged white supremacy organizations.
The death of Abe Lincoln proved harmful to the nation because the Congress and Johnson were not able to agree on a reconstruction plan and they had different opinions. The emancipation of slaves was a major milestone in the history of the United States, but it caused more problems than solutions in the beginning of reconstruction. In Congress it was obvious that if there were no laws governing the treatment of blacks, especially in the South, the blacks would be in danger of potential conflict and subjected to harm. The passing of the 14th amendment in Congress showed that the country was trying to protect their citizens. However, just because of the new amendment it was not going to be taken seriously by citizens because they did not change their beliefs.
Following Grant’s unenthusiastic approach to protecting blacks in the South, the executive branch gradually made its position on the issue clear in 1876. (Zinn, 199) When Hayes beat Tilden in the presidential election by promising to end the Reconstruction in the South, it was evident that the White House would no longer support any calls for the protection of blacks. The compromise of 1877 brought Hayes to office, but “doomed the black man to a second class citizenship that was to be his lot for nearly a century afterward,'; (Davis, 160). The Radical Republican’s in Congress, who were responsible for freeing the blacks, were also responsible for letting their voices become silenced. This occurred as the other, more industrial, interests of the broad based party dominated their platform; leaving the blacks to face the wrath of the Southerners.
Another factor which made it harder for freed slaves to enter the society was the Ku Klux Klan organization, which can be described as “Original American Terrorist Organizations”. Most white’s southern viewed literacy, political equality, or any advancement for blacks as a loss to whites. (3) Terrorist groups like the Klan, the Knights of the White Camelia, the Red Shirts, and several others formed during Reconstruction to maintain the preexisting social order of white supremacy in the South. Black Americans had to suffer a lot, but still later on they