Essay Example on Reconstruction governments after the Civil War. African American rights

After the American Civil War, the South still needed to rebuild itself since it suffered much damage. The Reconstruction 1865 -1877 was the era after the Civil War that the Union tried to transform the South to their liking and bring the South back to the Union. Reconstruction brought many changes to the South. President Lincoln proposed that if 10 of voters in a Southern state took an oath to pledge allegiance to the Union then the pledgers would be pardoned and the Southern state could begin forming a new state government that outlawed slavery in 1865. Proclamation of Amnesty Congress proposed that Reconstruction should wait until half of the Southern state's voters pledged loyalty to the Union. The Wade Davis Bill was proposed to Congress by Senator Benjamin F Wade and Representative Henry Winter Davis in February 1864 it stated that half the voters should take the oath and the state should give the state to vote before Reconstruction.

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Congress approved the bill but President Lincoln used his authority to veto the bill because he wanted to be flexible in the Reconstruction of the South. President Lincoln got assassinated on April 15m 1865 and President Andrew Johnson got elected. Johnson gave pardons to every Southern white man except for main Confederate officials and supporters. Johnson let the Southern states have meetings to form a new state government that was required to ratify the 13th Amendment which made slavery illegal in the United States and pledge loyalty to the Union, otherwise than those requirements the states were free to do their affairs. All the Southern states ratified the 13th Amendment and organized new state governments. The Southern states passed black codes which were restrictive laws that oppressed the civil rights of freed American Africans and generally treated them as inferiors to whites one of the laws gave employers to whip African Americans. The black codes required free blacks to sign yearly labor contracts. The Klu Klux Klan formed around 1865 and 1866 was a racist white organization that used violence on African Americans to oppose their advancement. Whites murdered nearly 5000 African Americans in 1865- 1866. Reconstruction Struggle. Radical Republicans were members of the Republican Party that believed that the rights of the African Americans should have federal protection and be the same with the rights that all Americans had.

In December 1865 when Congress met up new elected Southern congressmen took their seats many of the new congressmen were former Confederate officials or unloyal to the Union during the Civil War. The Radical Republicans refused to accept the new elected Southern congressmen. The black codes and the new congressmen assured the Radicals that they wanted a new Reconstruction policy that protected African Americans. The leaders of the Radicals were Senator Charles Sumner and Representative Thaddeus Stevens. The Moderate Republicans agreed with the Radicals that African Americans' rights needed more federal protection but concurred with Johnson that it was up to the states to decide the rights of the African Americans. Congress passed the Freedmen's Bureau Bill which expanded an organization that Congress established in 1866 to foresee the expansion of the rights of African Americans and the Civil Rights Bill which ensured that any US-born person as a citizen that should be able to enjoy equality over the law. President Johnson vetoed both bills but Congress was able to override both vetoes. Congress required the Southern states to ratify the 14th Amendment which made it illegal to restrict the basic rights of individuals before rejoining the Union. Tennessee was the first Southern state to ratify it and rejoin the Union, while it took all the other Southern states until 1968 to ratify it. Congress passed the Reconstruction Acts which divided the South into 5 military districts, laid out a plan for readmission to the Union for the states that hadn't ratified the 14th Amendment and was able to override Johnson's veto of the bill. Johnson violated the Tenure of Office Act which required that he was unable to fire officials without Congress approval and was one vote short of the required majority for him to be impeached.

The 15th Amendment was proposed in 1969 prohibiting restricting a US citizen the right to vote based on race and was ratified by all the states in 1870. After every state ratified it all the states were all part of the Union again. Reconstruction Governments. The South had a shift in political power. Blacks made the largest portion of Southern Republicans, many blacks voted in elections. Carpetbaggers were former Union soldiers, teachers, Bureau agents, and businessmen. Furthermore, they opened businesses such as factories. Scalawags were small planters that opposed big plantation owners that were loyal to the Union during the Civil War. The new Reconstruction governments established the 1st public tax paid schools. African Americans were allowed to hold office. Bribes given to officials and the rising expenses worried many Southerners. Many whites disliked that blacks could vote and hold office and some turned to violence to make sure that wouldn't happen. Democrats began to regain power in the South and weakened Republican influence. The difficulty blacks had in trying to vote due to violence helped the Democrats regain influence. Northerners lost interest in Reconstruction because of other issues and troops aiding in Reconstruction enforcement withdrew. When Rutherford Hayes got elected president he withdrew all federal troops in the South left. Consequently, this left blacks to be discriminated against more and Reconstruction ended in 1877. The Reconstruction brought together the South and North and established public schools in the South but it didn't establish racial harmony in the south or solve economic problems. Many southern states found ways around the Reconstruction amendments such as poll taxes to discourage blacks from voting.

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