Effects Of Radical Reconstruction

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It all started in 1619, when the first shipment of African slaves arrived in Jamestown, fated to work on tobacco plantations for the rest of their lives. This practice of forced labor continued in America through the 1700s, and so African-American slave-owning became a foundation for the new nation’s economy, especially in the southern states, where slaves were a crucial part of the plantation system. In the north, however, a growing abolitionist movement drove the discussion about slavery during the expansionist era. Disagreements about the legality of slavery in newly added states sparked conflicts that would eventually lead to the Civil War. Even after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, the legacy of slavery continued to influence …show more content…
During Radical Reconstruction, which began in 1867, newly enfranchised blacks were able to gain a voice in government through representation for the first time in American history, winning election to governmental positions, southern state legislatures, and even to the U.S. Congress. In less than a decade, however, there would be a strong backlash against these changes from the South, in an attempt to reverse the changes wrought by Radical Reconstruction in a campaign of violence and terror that restored white supremacy in the South. Throughout this time period, the South regressed back to a state that was far more similar to how the country was before the civil war, before reconstruction had taken place. Clearly, though African Americans experienced great positive changes during reconstruction, the retaliation during the Jim Crow era washed away much of their progress, and so eventually their lives were brought back to near pre-civil war conditions, and the unwanted continuity of racism, prejudice, and …show more content…
The KKK was a terrorist organization that tried to return the south to pre-civil war conditions through a campaign of terror and violence. Founded in 1866, the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) extended into almost every southern state by 1870 and became a vehicle for white southern resistance to the Republican Party’s Reconstruction-era policies aimed at establishing political and economic equality for blacks. Its members waged a campaign of intimidation and violence directed at former slaves who dared to act against the status quo, and Republican leaders. They burned houses down (Doc 4), lynched young black men, and stood outside polling places in order to ensure that they did not vote. They upheld a strict curfew for former slaves. Henry Blake described this in an interview for the federal Writer’s Program (Doc 5) “After slavery, we had to get in at night too. If you didn’t, the Klan would drive you in.” Though Congress passed legislation designed to curb Klan terrorism, the organization saw its primary goal–the reestablishment of white supremacy–fulfilled through Democratic victories in state legislatures across the South in the 1870s. The Klan would gain support after the civil war, and would grow in both power and influence, to the point where in the early 1900’s most of the democratic delegates for the presidential nomination were members of the Klan. Clearly, they were able

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