Does The Civil War: Does Freedom Mean Free?

Great Essays
Does “Freedom” Mean Free?
The Union’s victory of the Civil War did not bring the previously anticipated peace to the United States. Instead it led to a period of time known as “reconstruction,” which lasted from the end of the war in 1865 to 1877. This period is significant for its radical reforms mixed with racial tensions and divisions. The North won the war and established laws to integrate equality into society. Meanwhile, the South lost the war but was able to manipulate the system and mandate how they treated blacks in their society. Thus, the reconstruction period passed laws and drastically revolutionized the social structure in America, and even though it was impeded by Southern mentality, its ultimate goals of freedom were realized.
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However, as portrayed in Lincolns Gettysburg Address and outlined in the 13th amendment, reconstruction achieved its goals of freedom. Before President Lincoln was assassinated, he addressed the nation in an effort to end the Civil War and offered very clear goals for the nation to live up to upon the conclusion of the Civil War. In his speech Lincoln said, “…we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom…” (Gettysburg address). Lincoln’s speech proves that reconstructions main goal was equality and freedom in all of America. This same goal was further achieved by the 13th amendment. This amendment, passed at the beginning of the reconstruction period in 1865 stated, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude… shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction” (13th amendment). This law shows that the slaves were freed and that slavery would never be acceptable again in America. While the actions and laws passed in the South attempted to eradicate Northerners ideals for freedom and keep blacks from being free, slavery was abolished and for the most part all black men were granted citizenship and

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