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Exam 1 - Essay Example

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According to Eric Foner, it was an “unfinished revolution” beginning from emancipation proclamation in 1863 to redemption with the 1877 compromise (60)…
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Download file to see previous pages... The era witnessed the passing of 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments; The Civil Rights Acts of 1866 and 1875; Reconstruction Acts of 1867 and the Enforcement Acts of 1871. The period was also characterized by political terrorism and violence from groups like Ku Klux Klan and the White League. In the end, black equality was not realized as the South and North united at the expense of Black rights.
The main Reconstruction question was whether to punish the rebel states or forgive them and whether to grant the Blacks full equality (Foner 60-78). Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation proclamation in 1863 thus freeing the former slaves. A Freedman’s Bureau was established to oversee the welfare of the former slaves such as education. Lincoln’s plans were moderate thus not popular with Radical Republicans. Lincoln was assassinated and Andrew Johnson became president in 1864. Just like Lincoln, his Reconstruction plan was sympathetic to the rebel states. Although he believed in state rights, his hatred for blacks affected his plans (Foner 176-184). He made an amnesty proclamation which set simple terms for rebel states wishing to join union such as taking loyalty oath. The Radical Republicans were not pleased and took over the Reconstruction efforts using their congressional power to pass major legislations which granted legal equality to Blacks.
The major legislations included the 1866 Civil Rights Act which granted rights to blacks as citizens of the U. S. They could testify in court, make labor contracts and hold property (Foner 239). The military reconstruction Acts of 1867 steered Reconstruction efforts and were used to police the Southern states. The Acts gave permission to these states to form new constitutions and set conditions for readmission to the union. The 14th Amendment of 1868 followed which stated “all persons born or naturalized in U.S and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of US ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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