Reconstruction Memorial What kinds of restrictions did the newly freed slaves face socially, politically, and economically during Reconstruction?

After the Civil War, the Union took took steps to reunite the north and south with semi-strict laws that also provided amnesty. One of the things Reconstruction provided for was helping the newly freed African Americans transition into a new lifestyle. However, the south was not as cooperative and often found loopholes to counteract what the north had set in place. What kind of Restrictions did the newly freed slaves face socially, politically, and economically during reconstruction? Although there were many laws set in place by the north, the south used things, like black codes, to try to restrict the rights of African Americans as much as possible, especially under President Johnson, who often vetoed laws giving civil rights to African Americans.

Fifteenth Amendment

The 15th amendment was made to secure the vote of the African American population. The amendment prohibited any state from denying a citizen's right to vote based on race. Some southern states tried to implement literacy tests as a way to restrict African Americans within this law. Although the south found ways to get around this bill, it represented the desire for a transition to civil rights for African Americans by the U.S. government.

This is an example of Black Codes set in place. Although African Americans enjoyed a significantly greater freedoms, they were still severely restricted compared to their white peers. These black codes were enacted on a state-by-state basis, with some states having harsher laws than others. These Codes limited the economic and social prosperity African Americans could experience. Black codes represented the hatred and discrimination that still existed, and the refusal of the south to accept the results of the Civil War.

This is an example of the legacy of the era. This document drastically changed the federal government's view of slavery. Aside from freeing slaves, this document inspired a sense of patriotism among Africa Americans and northern government leaders. This document also gave the northern government a huge advantage during the civil war, as the this document stated that all enslaved people in states still in rebellion would be free. The Union also gained soldiers, as slaves were inspired to fight in Union armies, against their former owners.

Reconstruction resulted in numerous laws that provided African Americans with rights they had never had before. However, sentiments of hatred and slavery were still held in the south, which made this time a delicate period to reform existing laws. This inevitably caused tension between the north in the south, and would not be overcome until the years following the war. One thing Black Codes, developed during Reconstruction, most resembles is Jim Crow Laws. Like Black Codes, Jim Crow Laws were meant to place restrictions on African Americans in any way possible. Black Codes were made in a way that was similar to slavery, in that African Americans who wanted to grow economically were restricted by systems, such as sharecropping, with low wages. Jim Crow laws restricted African American freedoms in that they had limited economic and social opportunities and had to grow independently from any systems whites set in place for themselves.

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