Reconstruction Memoir Project In the reconstruction era, Union armies were triumphant with their victory to end slavery but how did northern politics and economics affect the efforts to push for black rights in this time?

In the beginning, the Civil war was fought so that the south doesn’t secede from the north and the United States remains united. The process of the reconstructing the Union began in 1863, two years before the confederate states formally surrendered. By in the middle of the war when Abraham Lincoln read the Emancipation Proclamation which allowed slaves to be free. At this point the war shifted from unifying the states to slavery being constitutional. After major Union victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg, the union won and officially granted freedom to the blacks. The thing is that the issues don’t end right there, even though there was an establishment of black rights following the Emancipation the reconstruction period failed. When Congress approved the 15th Amendment, which guaranteed that a citizen’s right to vote would not be denied, Northern Republicans thought that the fight for the blacks was over since they can take care of themselves. Around this time, the north grew increasingly preoccupied with their own political economic problems and their interest in the reconstruction began to wane, so the once established Black rights became unenforced and southern whites suppressed the blacks again.

African Americans finally have got freedom

One of three Reconstruction amendments enacted in the years immediately following the Civil War, the Fifteenth Amendment was adopted by the U.S. Congress on February 26, 1869, to protect the voting rights of African American men. The requisite number of states quickly followed suit, and the amendment was officially ratified on March 30, 1870. Before the adoption of the Fifteenth Amendment, the matter of suffrage had been purely a matter for the states. It stated the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude and Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation. It meant that the Blacks had an opportunity to vote and express their opinion to some degree. Although, through the use of poll taxes, literacy tests and other means, Southern states were able to effectively disenfranchise African Americans. And it wasn’t until the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 before the majority of African Americans in the South were registered to vote. It was the first time African Americans were thought to give the right to vote. This meant that it was a beacon of hope for them. That was also why the Northern Radical Republicans Started to stop focusing too much on the progression of the South during the reconstruction.

Andrew Johnson's Reconstruction and How It Works, is a cartoon by Thomas Nast, published in Harper's Weekly in September 1866. This cartoon criticizes President Andrew Johnson's policies for Reconstruction in the Southern states following the Civil War. By the end of the Civil War in 1865, Southern states found themselves ravaged by years of battles and privation. In addition, their entire society and economy were being redesigned to exclude slavery. Lawmakers had many different ideas for how to approach this period, known as Reconstruction. President Andrew Johnson vision of Reconstruction had proved to be remarkably lenient. Very few Confederate leaders were persecuted and brutal beatings of African-Americans were frequent. Still-powerful whites sought to subjugate freed slaves via harsh laws that came to be known as the Black Codes. In this cartoon, artist Thomas Nast criticizes Johnson's uncharitable position toward Southern blacks. At the end no matter what the Radical Republicans wanted it was up to the President to actually pass the laws and during the reconstruction era Johnson gave southern a lot more leniency and didn’t really support or help the Blacks.

Sponsored by Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts, the 1875 Civil Rights Act was passed by Congress to secure for blacks the rights and privileges of social contact that whites already enjoyed. It protected all Americans, regardless of race, in their access to public accommodations and facilities such as restaurants, theaters, trains and other public transportation, and protected the right to serve on juries. However, it was not enforced, and the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional in 1883. Although it remained unconstitutional for some time it was a start, never has there been a time when Blacks could have the same rights as Whites. The fight for civil rights then moved to the judicial realm. In 1896, the Supreme Court ruled in Plessy v. Ferguson that designating separate railway cars for whites and blacks was constitutional, as long as the facilities were "equal." This gave Blacks the similar facilities to use even if they weren't the same. The reconstruction era did not enforce that many rights for Blacks but it was the start of something that brought people of all races and genders to equality. Without the first actions during the reconstruction period there still could be white supremacy.

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