Reconstruction And Restoration Of The Civil War Essay

Reconstruction And Restoration Of The Civil War Essay

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The Civil War is arguably the darkest point in American history, as it is the only point in which thousands of Americans are being killed by their fellow countrymen. However, the period following was just as dark from a more political, social, and economic point of view. This period of time taking place from 1865-1877 is usually known as Reconstruction because the south is "reconstructing" from the damages of the war. However, many historians argue that this period of time is improperly named and should be called restoration. As this argument goes on, I would say that both terms are correct, and in fact both reconstruction and restoration are needed to describe the time period following the Civil War.
The first question to answer is what are reconstruction and restoration? According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, reconstruction is the act or process of building something that was damage or destroyed again. The same dictionary also states that restoration is the act or process of returning something to its original condition. Both of these definitions in this context obviously is about the south. Even though the south is being rebuilt how one would expect it to after a destructive war, the south is again restored with its racist values.
Many of the laws passed at the time were issued to support reconstruction. Of these, the most important were the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments to the Constitution. The thirteenth amendment officially declared that all slaves were freed. This amendment does not directly support the reconstruction of the south, but it does legalize President Abraham Lincoln 's Emancipation Proclamation. This obviously hurt 's the southern economy, making reconstruction harder. However, this doe...


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...ed men 's basic rights as citizens. The codes made it illegal for them to marry, serve on a jury, rent or lease land, or even vote. These laws just re-enslaved the slaves. They made people question whether the north had won the war. Even though the harshest laws were repealed, they ended up transforming into the Jim Crowe laws and stood for practically another hundred years. This is where restoration truly comes from. These Black Codes just restored the south to how it was before the Civil War.
These examples obviously support the fact the the period after the Civil War was both a time of reconstruction and a time of restoration. We saw the south grow back to its old ways while making a new path at the same time. This combination of restoration and reconstruction helped shape both the south and the rest of the United States for all of American history yet to come.

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