The situation was worse in the southern part where white people were bewildered by the mere thought of demolished slavery rules and the black tide which they reckoned was inevitable. The psychological impact was huge and it shifted the normal social equilibrium in the south. The fact that south was affected more than the other parts of the United States can be attributed to the slavery system being dominated in the area. There are many chain reactions of events that contributed in modeling of United States as it is reflected today (Farrell 2003). But the two major historical turning points in the aftermath of the war were the abolished slavery system and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. In the light of these historical events under debate many question arises in mind. Whether President Lincoln’s assassination proved to be a major setback in the reconstruction phase? How could it would have been different? How the hard work of Abraham Lincoln in abolishing the slavery system was supported and carried on by the federal courts and legislatures? These are the few questions which this paper attempts to answer.
Abraham Lincoln’s assassination and impact on the reconstruction:
The reconstruction period was crucial as many important decisions were to be taken and a strong leadership was required to make sure they do not collapse under the immense post war pressure. Congress at the time of reconstruction was influenced by “radical republicans” who viewed this period as an opportunity to punish
south. South on the other hand was convinced to sabotage the rights of the black people and passed laws based on racial discrimination. These events eroded the efforts of Abraham Lincoln who could have handled these situations particularly well as compared to Andrew Johnson the southern origin candidate who replaced him as a president. It’s no surprise that congress did not like the new appointment and conditioned kept on deteriorating. President Lincoln had the capability to control the radical republicans and there is no doubt he could have limited the painful struggle between north and the southern states. Assassination of Abraham Lincoln therefore proved to be very costly in the light of these events and was one of the historical turning points. In his presence south would not have dared to ignite the racial fire that burned many innocents during the reconstruction phase. Therefore, the healing process would have been much effective under his command and leadership. (Ayers 2000). Federal and State Laws: During the reconstruction period many laws were passed to ensure that discrimination against non-white citizens and immigrants is limited if not abolished completely. The “Black codes” passed by the southern states such as banning the interracial marriages were aimed to discriminate non-white population and limit their freedom and rights. Therefore, the federal government acted accordingly by passing Civil Rights act in 1966. The purpose of this act was to safeguard the rights of those naturalized or born in the United States. Under this act every citizen of the country has equal rights. Not surprisingly, the southern states denied all the amendments and refused to follow the new laws. Later on, congress passed the reconstruction act on March 2, 1867 which prohibited these states from participating in party’s affair if they do not revise their constitutions