The Pros And Cons Of The Reconstruction Era

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"We hold these truths to be self evident: that all men are created equal." These famous words were penned by Thomas Jefferson nearly a century before America truly started taking them to heart in 1863, when President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation and freed the enslaved African Americans. However, equality was still not completely present after the Civil War, and the post-war Reconstruction period brought both positive and negative social, political, and economic change. Though African Americans could no longer be bought or sold, they still had less rights than white people, they were at a financial disadvantage, and they had to face the wrath of whites angry about the end of slavery groups like the Ku Klux Klan. It would be a long time before African Americans had their civil rights recognized, and even today they do not have the same opportunities and receive the same treatment as white people. All things considered, Reconstruction was a turbulent time for the newly-freed …show more content…
The 14th Amendment said nothing about voting rights, meaning that the government did not have to protect African Americans’ right to vote. Though most states allowed black voters to register, they had a series of hoops set up that were nearly impossible for prospecting black voters to jump through, such as poll taxes (which many were unable to pay) and literacy tests. This placed African Americans at an immense disadvantage, as their voice was almost completely unheard in political affairs. In a 1898 public statement, the Afro-American Council (a black political group that fought discrimination and segregation) asserted that “a disenfranchised citizen [one who is deprived of the right to vote] is a pariah [outcast] in the body politic.” Without the crucial right to vote, African Americans could not object to any bills proposed that may have infringed on their rights or enabled

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