Political Issues During Reconstruction

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The Union victory in the Civil War granted many slaves their freedom, but the process of rebuilding a nation in shambles was complicated by the millions of slaves who were now free citizens. Reconstruction was a time of readjustment after the Civil War in which the national government faced the problem of redefining the relationship between the Confederate states of the South and the formerly enslaved African Americans. The United States needed to find a way to integrate the newly emancipated slaves into the larger society while reuniting the Union with as little reprimand to the Southern states as possible. Economic hardships, paired with politics wrought by many conflicting factors, and the attempt to reconstruct the entire social structure …show more content…
The strong Republican presence in Congress pushed for the creation of civil rights legislation that ensured the equality and citizenship of freed people in the future. These laws included the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery, along with the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments which redefined what it meant to be a citizen and declared that the right to vote cannot be denied regardless of race, respectively. Of the amendments, the Fifteenth Amendment proved to be a major contributor to the establishment of the black participation in the government and political world. Recently freed black men were exercising their true political freedom, often electing African American representatives to local, state, and federal positions (Clark-Pujara, 11/10). However, it did not take long for these newfound rights to be ignored and for whites to oppress blacks by denying them their rights and freedoms. The civil rights legislation was physical, legal documentation stating the equality of African Americans, however, these laws were rarely practiced. Sharecropping is one example of how white supremacists worked their way around the amendments. White supremacists acknowledged that African Americans were no longer slaves, but bent the rules in their favor, allowing themselves to treat blacks as poorly as possible without their actions being considered or related to

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