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Assignment2-1 - Essay Example

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Reconstruction refers to the controversial period 1865 – 1877, following the American Civil War, and pertains to “the attempt to rebuild and reform the South politically, economically, and socially after the Civil War, and to refashion race relations throughout the…
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Download file to see previous pages Reconstruction was a failure in the South, as the white Southerners placed several obstacles in the way of African-American political participation. With the abolition of slavery through the Thirteenth Amendment of 1865, African-Americans sought political participation. This was bitterly opposed by the white Southerners, who were granted the right by President Johnson to form new governments. They passed the Black Code, denying African-Americans the right to buy or lease land, to vote, to attend public schools, to testify against whites or serve on juries and continue to toil as servants for their former masters. Racial supremacists, like the Ku Klux Klan, resorted to violence and lynching of African-Americans. The race riots in Memphis and New Orleans in 1866 saw the blatant massacre of eighty-nine African-Americans. The radical Republican Congress, although it overrode President Johnson’s obstinate resistance to reconstruction, and resorted to the use of federal troops in the South, could not achieve its objectives due to the severe economic depression in the South, the racism inherent in generations of white Southerners and the electoral malpractices resorted to by them. 2
In the light of the new constitutional legislation enacted by the Republican Congress, the Reconstruction may be viewed as a success. The Fourteenth Amendment of 1868 guaranteed Blacks civil rights and equality before the law; the Fifteenth Amendment of 1870 mandated racially impartial voting rights; the Civil Rights Act of 1875 banned racial segregation. The Freedmen’s Bureau, whose powers were expanded by Congress, assisted former slaves to assert their rights. Several former slaves, including Oscar Dunn, Francis Cardozo, John Menard, Jasper White and Hiram Revels, held legislative office, and entered the Congress, the Senate and the judiciary. 3 Equal civil and political rights for African-Americans were ensured by such ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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