Reconstruction Era Izzy D'Souza

What were the successes and failure of the passing of the 13th Amendment?

The Reconstruction Era was the aftermath period of the American Civil War and the Emancipation of slaves. At the end of the Civil War, the Union was victorious, however the South feared the worst was still to come. The Reconstruction Era was a pivotal time for blacks in America as they transitioned from servitude to being active members of American society. The 13th Amendment, stated slavery should no longer exist in the United States of America. There were certain successes and failures which accompanied the passing of the amendment such as the obvious abolition of slavery as a success and the continued hatred for blacks as a failure.

The image above is a photocopy of the 13th Amendment in the Constitution. The major success of this document was the declaration that slavery would no longer exist in the country. The illusion that the Emancipation Proclamation abolished slavery in America is false, in fact this was done by the 13th Amendment. The Emancipation simply eradicated slavery in the enemy territory during the Civil War. The institution of slavery was very much intact in other parts of the country after the proclamation. Blacks were finally given the opportunity to integrate themselves into american society as equals.

Frederick Douglass was an advocate for blacks in this new time. The image above is an excerpt from his Address to the Colored Citizens of the United States. The speech explains one of the failures of the 13th Amendment. Even though slavery was then prohibited in the country, there was still an immense amount of racist ideologies in the South. This lead to the continuous mistreatment of blacks, which is precisely why they still needed to have an advocate. Frederick Douglass attempted to, first off, warn the blacks of this continued hatred that they would face. They would have to endure so much in order to be successful.

The political cartoon demonstrates the legacy of the Reconstruction Era. The main purpose of the period was to reunite the Union after the fallout from slavery and other issues. A new precedent had been set for the future in terms of the potential of the United States to give blacks their first chance at freedom.

Overall, the Reconstruction Era was an incredible time in America, despite certain setbacks. The passing of the 13th Amendment was a huge success by officially abolishing slavery in the country. Unfortunately, this in no way abolished the hatred that had been built against blacks for many years. In order to make the most out of their first chance at freedom, black people had to continuously deal with the constant oppression. This is almost exactly the same issue that is currently affecting America. Black Lives Matter campaigns and the whole concept that even though everyone is now "equal", there is still so much deep rooted prejudice.

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Created with images by robert.claypool - "United States Flag"

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