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The Union was victorious in the Civil War in 1865

The Union was victorious in the Civil War in 1865 and consequently much of the South had been destroyed in the process The period after the Civil War is known as the Reconstruction period which lasted until 1877 During this period the rebuilding of the South began The federal government set conditions that the Southern states would have to abide by in order to enter back into the Union One of the conditions of the South s re admittance into the Union was that there must be civil and political equality for blacks This meant that governments and social systems had to be reestablished in these states Freedom became a source of conflict during the Reconstruction of the South It brought about different meanings for black Southerners than it did for white Southerners Nearly 180 000 blacks served in the Union Army According to Eric Foner one senator explained that the role they fulfilled in the army should be rewarded by a new status among us Foner 2015 Black soldiers were treated as equals before the law but only within the military at the time In 1868 the 14th amendment was ratified This amendment guaranteed equal protection of the laws and rights to all citizens without discrimination 14th Amendment 2009 For black Southerners freedom meant that they were released from the constraints of slavery They were able to reunite with family members that had previously been separated For some freedom also meant the ability to marry because marriage during enslavement held no legal value Religion was an important aspect of black communities because slaves had not been allowed to read the bible Black churches became an important part of society during Reconstruction because they provided guidance served as school houses and were places of political gatherings However this freedom didn t last entirely for too long Jim Crow laws were established which enforced racial segregation With the passing of these laws many freed slaves saw the extent of their freedom decline

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