Congress began to come up with its own plan for reconstruction; it would help the African Americans. Despite this support, the African Americans still had not gained their right to vote. In 1866 the Fourteenth Amendment was passed and issues of civil rights for blacks came up repeatedly. Johnson was still trying to push his reconstruction program, which did not help the Northerners trying to get the South to ratify this amendment. In 1867 the New Reconstruction Act was passed once again over presidential veto.
During the Civil War, on December 1863, President Lincoln announced his 10 % Plan for Reconstruction. Many Northerners considered it to be too mild, but the blacks condemned it for ignoring saying nothing about civil rights fir the freedmen and ignoring black suffrage. Lincoln’s plan was never carried out because he was assassinated less than one week after the Civil War. However, while Lincoln was president, a national debate developed over whether Congress or the President should establish the Reconstruction policy. Andrew Johnson, who became President of the U.S. in 1865, had his own Reconstruction plan, but it turned out to be unsuccessful largely because of the unfair ways in which blacks were treated.
Even though slavery was now prohibited, freed blacks were now left alone to struggle finding simple things like a roof to live in and a job to work for. Meanwhile, President Abraham Lincoln wanted to give the south humane conditions for them to be accepted back into the union and also wanted to give African Americans and former soldiers the right to vote, but that wasn’t very successful when put into the hands of Congress. Soon after Lincoln was killed in 1865, President Andrew Johnson came into presidency and changed the conditions giving African Americans a harder time adapting to their new lives as freedmen. Furthermore, the south became very violent against the blacks and came up with black codes, which put freed blacks as closely as possible back into a slave state. These black codes prohibited interracial marriages, the ownership of guns or liquor, congregation in large groups and had curfews for these freedmen.
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
After the Civil War, the USA offered civil rights and laws privileges to African-Americans. The USA government passed an amendment ending slavery in 1865; the Thirteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. Although slavery was outlawed, it did not provide citizenship and equal rights. Therefore, the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendment offered citizenship and enfranchisement to all citizens, regardless of race. Nevertheless, many eligible black citizens were prevented from voting; especially in the Southern states of America.
The African Americans gained their emancipation and new rights through the battling Northern and Southern factions of the United States, not because a majority of the country felt that slavery possessed a ‘moral urgency’. As the years passed and the whites began to reconcile, their economic goals rose to the forefront of their policy, while racism spread throughout the country and deepened in the South. Even with all of the good intentions and ideals expressed in the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments, blacks watched as their freedom disintegrated through the late 19th Century as a result of the Supreme Court decisions that limited the implications of the new amendments. After the passage of these amendments, two of the three branches of government disconnected themselves with the issue of black civil rights. Following Grant’s unenthusiastic approach to protecting blacks in the South, the executive branch gradually made its position on the issue clear in 1876.
However, despite having the cold Civil War in the 1860s, all the effort to gain a “new birth of freedom” went in vain. Although the North were advance than the South and were to defeat them in the war, they had in reality lost. By the 1880s, the South had defeated the weakened North and had re-enslaved the African American. After the Civil war, the American government had passed many amendments to insure the rights of African American but all went in vain, as the South did not follow them. Document A shows that Amendment XIII, which was passed in 1865 right after the Civil War, prohibited the use of slavery within the US.
Reconstruction made the nation as a whole feel ‘reunited’, but it was viewed as a failure and waste immediately after its completion (Boyer, 471). It laid the groundwork for the Civil Rights Movement by passing the 13, 14, and 15th amendments, even though they would not be implemented to protect minority rights for nearly a hundred years. Reconstruction also established a policy of treating African-Americans as second-class citizens. The nation was taught that it was alright to treat blacks as inferior people because the government would not even guarantee them the right to vote in state elections. However, Reconstruction did pave the way for share-cropping and the factory system, which would lead to an economic boom as American expanded.
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.
I do not believe that the Americans of African and European ancestry successfully rebuilt their relationship right after the Civil war. Even though slavery was finally slowly getting abolished, there was still much discrimination against the African Americans. The Jim Crow laws and the black codes discriminated against black people. The Ku Klux Klan in particular discriminated against black people. Even though the United States government tried to put laws into the Constitution to protect black people, the African Americans were discriminated in every aspect of life from housing, working, educating, and even going to public restrooms!