Reconstruction Memorial How were the African Americans affected by the reconstruction amendments? (13,14,15)

After the devastating Civil War, many African Americans were finally free from the bonds of slavery. However, still facing immense discrimination, they were restricted with Black Codes which prevented former slaves from renting land or borrowing money for land, and placed freedmen into a form of semi-bondage to sign work contracts. Although the Black Codes were nullified by Johnson, it still had a great impact on people's thoughts and doubts on the true winner of the war. Thanks to the Radical Republicans and their motivation to help free black men regain their civil rights through Reconstruction amendments (13th, 14th and 15th), African Americans were given the chance to hold office and become more independent as a community.

Primary Source #1: 13th amendment- Article 8 in the Constitution states that all slavery or involuntary servitude is not to be legalized in the United States. This basically got rid of slavery in general for better treatment of African Americans. The 13th Amendment also states that involuntary servitude is only viable when someone commits a serious crime. I think this amendment is very reasonable for better equal rights of free black men.
Political cartoon on black codes

Primary Source #2: Black codes- The Ohio Black codes are basically long lists of restrictions on black men. This was very suffocating for colored people since they were held back from voting, settling in their desired place, and holding large amounts of property. They were also punished extremely severely for "crimes" that were seemingly small and irrelevant. For example, if a black man was to aid or support another African American from leaving the country, they would be fined, prevented from leaving, convicted, and probably killed soon after. This soon led to the failure of the Reconstruction period.

Ku Klux Klan

Primary Source #3: KKK- The Ku Klux Klan definitely left its mark or became a legacy during the Reconstruction period. Widespread racism and white supremacy became one of the leading problems after the Civil war. The KKK had written a letter to Davie Jeems, a black Republican who was recently elected sheriff in Lincoln County, Georgia threatening to kill him if he did not "quit hunting on sunday and shooting your gun in the night." This document was quite disturbing to come across since the threat was written with a mocking and eerily creepy tone.

Conclusion: All in all, there were many successes of the Reconstruction era, but many other aspects such as white supremacy and discrimination led to its downfall. Gay marriage was legalized in the United States, but it still became quite a controversial topic and many individuals were opposed to it because of their beliefs. Similarly to the downfall of the Reconstruction Era regardless of its successes, gay marriage was still opposed by many despite the fact that it was legalized.

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.