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America's Post Civil War Growing Pains

1252 words - 6 pages

In the south, the Reconstruction Period was a time of readjustment. Southern whites wanted to keep African Americans as slaves and they rejected social equality. African Americans wanted their full freedom and land of their own. There were constant hindrances such as race riots and acts of violence against African Americans. There were two senses during the Reconstruction Era: the first covers the complete history of the entire U.S. from 1865 to 1877 following the Civil War; the second sense focuses on the transformation of the Southern United States from 1863 to 1877 as directed by the President with the reconstruction of state and society.

Reconstruction was an era in the United States ...view middle of the document...

” (www.infoplease.com). Lincoln wanted to restore the south, so in late 1863 the formal plan for reconstruction were: “(1) a general amnesty would be granted to all who would take an oath of loyalty to the United States and pledge to obey all federal laws pertaining to slavery. (2) High confederate officials and military leaders were to be temporarily excluded from the process. (3) When one tenth of the number of voters who had participated in the 1860 election had taken the oath within a particular state, then that state could launch a new government and elect representatives to congress.” (www.u-s-history.com). Lincoln’s vision for reconstruction was starting with self-reconstruction by the states. In order for it to appeal to the poorer whites, he offered the excuse all confederates appeal to former plantation owners and southern aristocrats and protect private property. Unlike Radical Republicans in congress, Lincoln didn’t feel the need to punish southerners or reorganize southern society. Lincoln offered a model for reinstatement of southern states called the 10 percent reconstruction plan. This plan decreed “that a state could be reintegrated into the union when 10% of the 1860 vote count from the state had taken an oath of allegiance to the U.S. and pledged to abide by emancipation.” If President Lincoln were still alive, he would probably still be at odds with the Radical Republicans. They would have forced their own plan of reconstruction through congress, overridden any vetoes and tried to remove Lincoln from office through impeachment. If Lincoln had been alive he would have done more to help the economy of the south, this would have prevented southerners from getting angry and organizing hate groups like the KKK. (Title the tenth percent plan: retrieved from wikipedia.org/wiki/ten-percent-plan).
On December 18, 1865 the 13th amendment to the constitution was officially ratified. This amendment stated that neither slavery, nor involuntary servitude could exist in the U.S. Southern society was changing, blacks could legally marry, and they could set up conventional stable family units. Blacks slowly removed themselves from white churches and formed their own religious organizations which became pillars in the African American community. Without land or money some freedmen had to stay with their white masters and continue work. Sharecropping gradually became the accepted labor of the south. Planters that were short on the capital favored system, because they didn’t have to pay cash wages. Blacks favored it because they could live in individual cabins they rented and choose what to plant and how to cultivate. Industrialization changed the nature of American society after the civil war. The way products were produced, sold and transported had changed. This was a time of...

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