Essay Example on 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

African Americans soon began to demand equal political and civil rights There were also a series of laws passed known as black codes which placed a restriction on the level of activity freed slaves could express and ensured that they remained a source of labor Southern families experienced the loss of loved ones and the destruction of land during the Civil War Many white Southerners reacted to this and to the emancipation of slaves with concern For white landowners in the South freedom meant a loss of labor and the adoption of sharecropping Instead of accepting the freedom of slaves some white Southerners resorted to violence and opposition Due to their concerns some conservative whites began looking for ways to control freed slaves The Ku Klux Klan KKK was formed in 1866 as a political and social organization It organized episodes of terror and spread violence throughout the South This violence was aimed at intimidating blacks along with whites supporting their freedom In 1868 a letter of intimidation was sent to a black elected official in Lincoln County Georgia The author of the letter claimed that they were a Klan member sent to make the recipient of the letter aware that they should know their place and that no African American was safe unless he joins the Democratic Club Onion 2013 The KKK acted violently against Republican party members and leaders that sought to establish equality for blacks The letter served to threaten the official and warn others that they should change their view on Reconstruction policies The Klan s objective was to reestablish white authority in the South and abolish Radical Reconstruction A Grand Commander of the Knights of the

White claimed that they wanted the white race to not be altered and lost and that states to not be converted into African provinces Fleming 1907 This commander expressed that these wants should be a right This represents to an extent the idea s that led some white Southerners to oppose the freedom of slaves Although there were white Southerners who resorted to violence there were many who did not There were white Republicans from the North and the South who supported freed slaves and who were opposed to the Ku Klux Klan To these white Southerners and some freed slaves freedom meant an opportunity for whites and blacks to live together in a society free of slavery and unfair treatment Although Jim Crow laws made this difficult there were white teachers and missionary organization members who attempted to provide black communities with the opportunity to learn Along with Black churches that also served as schools some white church members helped freed slaves to become literate Reconstruction and Its Aftermath n d The state of the South was fragile during the Reconstruction period The emancipation of slavery brought about different implications for white and black citizens Within white communities freedom meant the need to revolt to some people and it meant an opportunity to prosper to others Within black communities freedom meant the ability to express themselves in ways they couldn t due to the restrictions of slavery It meant that they had an opportunity to obtain rights that had previously been limited Due to the many acts of violence and laws restricting the freedom of slaves that were formed Reconstruction was not successful in the long term There were still many steps to be taken after this period to ensure that equal civil and political rights were guaranteed to each citizen regardless of race

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