Legacy of Reconstruction Why did the north feel as it was their RESPONSIBILITY to RECONSTRUCT the nation as a whole after the war?

Right after the Union victory in the civil war in 1865, the period of Reconstruction immediately set foot. The emancipation of millions of slaves led to a process in rebuilding the South, but this offered many significant challenges because the South still had Confederates which held ideas that blacks should not be given equality and freedom. As a result, the North believed that it was their responsibility to reconstruct the nation as a whole because they believed in uniting the nation together while upholding their rights as well. Many believed that there was no need for Reconstruction, but thanks to the leadership of Lincoln, the ideas of Reconstruction passed on even after his death. Andrew Johnson had an obligation to uphold his beliefs while also respecting the South to be able to somewhat rebuild themselves. He had a firm belief in states' rights and Unionism which transfers to why he wanted to unite the South with the North again and rebuild the nation. Therefore, the North felt it was needed and their job to reconstruct the nation as a whole after the war.

15th Amendment

The 15th Amendment basically gave African American men the right to vote and stated that 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." This was a major success of the Reconstruction period because it basically set up a basis for the future to finally give freedom to the African Americans. Although Southern states were still able to stop most blacks from voting at the time, it made way for the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in which the majority of them were finally able to register and vote and gain some equality.

Jim Crow Laws

This image shows a black man going to a colored restaurant which represents the segregation that still existed even after emancipation. Many believed in white supremacy and that blacks should not deserve equality. One failure of the Reconstruction was the passage of Jim Crow Laws which were state and local laws that enforced racial segregation in the South. The laws continued until around 1965 and emphasized the idea of "separate, but equal" which was not the case at all. Many facilities such as schools, bathrooms, and even water fountains for colored people were much more inferior compared to the ones whites used. The Jim Crow Laws followed the Black Codes which were also another set of laws that restricted the civil rights and liberties of African Americans during Reconstruction.

Civil Rights Movement

A major idea that created a legacy for the Reconstruction period was civil rights. Ever since the ending of the civil war and emancipation of the African Americans, the idea that blacks should have freedom and equality never stopped. Due to the corruption and ideas developed in the Southern states, blacks had a very hard time trying to gain political freedom because the Confederates just didn't accept the fact that they were finally free because of how much slaves were utilized in their economy. Despite the fact that they tried to stop blacks from gaining freedom, civil rights movements and other methods recurred as they did not give up in trying to be equal. As seen in the image, many attempts of peaceful movements were used to try stop segregation and boost their social status. This continued on to the future as many civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr., played vital roles in ensuring equality and freedom for African Americans eventually.

The period of Reconstruction was overall an important part after the Civil War and it was not so much a success after all. The North believed it was their responsibility to reconstruct the nation as a whole after the war because they believed in unification as well as the belief in certain ideas. They also thought the South could do some of the rebuilding on their own and that they tried their best to respect the wishes of the South. A similar event in history relating to the Reconstruction is that of the women's suffrage movements. A central idea of the Reconstruction period was the movements made by African Americans to try to gain freedom and equality. The fight for women's rights is very similar in that women were known as inferior to men and they were expected to just stay at home and take care of the children. They eventually wanted to take action and improve their position as they tried to gain the right to vote and even have a place in politics. Major leaders of suffrage were Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton who led the Seneca Falls Convention and played a vital role in making progress for equality for women.

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