The Period of Rebuilding after the Civil War

1122 Words3 Pages

The period of rebuilding after the Civil War was termed the Era of Reconstruction. During this period the government was supposed to help build back the South and strengthen the Union. The government, however, failed to help the South complete the transition into life without slavery. The government disregarded the treatment of African Americans and allowed the South to continue to treat them badly. The government also failed to help stabilize the economy for the South, and the political situation was filled with distrust and corruption. During the Reconstruction period in the South, the government also did little to help the social situation in the South. When the South joined the Union, they began to put in place laws that would restrict the rights of the newly freed slaves in most of the Southern states. These laws were called the Black Codes. Some of the laws in the Black Codes stated that the newly freed slaves were not allowed to talk freely, bear arms or gather for meetings. They were also forced to sign yearly labor contracts, which, if they did not sign, could cause them to be arrested or perform unpaid labor (“History”). These restrictive laws kept alive the feeling of white supremacy. That same mindset is what caused the Memphis and New Orleans riots. The Memphis riot started when African American soldiers and white men got into a fight and started to shoot at each other. When the riot was over there were 46 African Americans killed and 2 white people killed, along with another 100 people wounded. Also 91 homes, 4 churches and 8 schools were burned (“History”). There was another riot in New Orleans, which started when people from New Orleans were unhappy with the Black Code laws that were just passed and wanted to mee... ... middle of paper ... ...ranch, imbalanced representation, and general corruption. Many historians believe that Reconstruction was a success. They believe this because infrastructure in the South was built up which helped them to catch up with the North (Kennedy). Some historians also believe this because the 13th, 14th, and the 15th amendments came out of it (Kennedy). In addition, the farming fields in the south became much more diverse (Kennedy). The Freedman’s Bureau also came out of reconstruction which helped to give blacks jobs and built schools (Kennedy). Because it was restrained by various social, economic, and political factors, Reconstruction was not successful in achieving its goals. It caused social strife to rival that under slavery, it failed to alleviate the economic burdens of the South, and it caused a political tension that would remain intact for nearly ninety years.

Open Document