RECONSTRUCTION: HIGH HOPES AND SHATTERED DREAMS 1865-1877 CHAPTER 15 Rodrigo Gavilanez Rodrigo Gavilanez Professor Bonanno History 152 Section H1 9 October 2008 Reconstruction: High Hopes and Shattered Dreams, 1865-1877 The United States of America faced a lot of difficult times during its history to get of what today we call America. At the beginning, two of the most important changes that American’s History remembers were the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863 followed by the Recontruction, 1867.
Both of these changes in history allowed the end of slavery. President Lincoln and his Republican Party played an important roll for the freedom of more than 4 millions former slaves, whom during decades had to suffer the discrimination and lack of freedom. On Lincoln’s efforts to abolished the slavery , he make use of his constitutional power issuing Pardons and Amnesty orders hoping this way to created loyal governments in the Southern states.
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However, many southern states were against the abolition and continue practicing slavery but Congress finally put an end by approving the Thirteen Amendment on1865. This amendment mentioned that “neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction” After Lincoln was assassinated on 1865, vice president Andrew Johnson took his position and pursuit with Lincoln’s objectives of Reconstruction.
However, in some southern states they approved the called “Black Codes”- which means some restraints on black people. As a result of what was happening on the South, on 1865 the Congress was against these actions and refused to join some states that practice these black codes. Although, African Americans started creating their own communities, institutions, newspapers, fraternal orders and some others started looking for their families that during the slavery period were either separated or sale to others slave owners or “Masters”, creating this way families ties.
Most of the African Americans at that time had a big desire of educating their children and themselves, because they knew that knowledge was power and their new lives will depend of it. Therefore , an organization called Freedmen’s Bureau help them founding schools allowing this way thousands on black people attend schools. Other option or alternative that free people at that time was the Sharecropping which consisted in working someone else’s land and share the harvest with the landowner of it.
It was not always fair due to most of the owner’s started planting cotton and others crops that could not be used for their personal benefits. But not everything was good news for all African Americans; they also had to face a period of violence in which a secret white supremacy society called the Ku Klux Klan formed in Tennessee in 1866, to terrorize the black Americans. The Klan adopted violent methods and the increase in murders finally resulted in a backlash among the Southern elites who viewed the Klan’s excess as an excuse for federal troops to continue occupation.
And, since the Congress penalized these actions the Fourtheen Amendment took place to prevent these attacks and to put in place the civil rights. This amendment was considered the most important source for the American Civil Rights. After this time, the Fifteen Amendment, Section 1 ” the right of citizents of the united states to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the united states or bu any states on account of race,color,or previous condition of servitude. Section 2 ” The Congress shall have power to enforced these articles to appropiated legislation” took place in February 1869 to make sure that all African American have same suffrage rights and prohibited that federal and state governments from restricting a person to vote because of their race . This Amendement was also considered as the last step of the Reconstruction Era. After all these reforms were implemented black people began to participate with more force in the state and local politics.
In my opinion, I believe that the decisions taken by Lincoln and his parties were in the African Americans benefit because they were liberated of slavery and they were granted the same rights as white people. By saying this, they were integrated back to society and given the opportunity of going to college, voting and working rights as the rest of other people. However in order for all these changes to be enforced, many slaves were killed and sacrificed, which allowed the African Americans in today’s society to obtain freedom and equality.
Finally, all these changes in history impacted society back then until now. The Reconstruction era left an important heritage which consisted in commitment to a republican society based on equality. And what better example of the current situation the United States faces right now, having an African American candidate running for President which demonstrates how history has revolutionized to contribute to the development of equality among races, and most importantly to be ready to accept these changes.