The Reconstruction Era and Its Effects
The war, which was aimed at confronting the national dilemma of slavery, only led to subsequent problems over emancipation and an undefined condition of freedom. Some, who had naively assumed that ending slavery would resolve the problem Of racial inequality, overlooked the prejudice and unpleasant leaning towards blacks. Noon’s plan for reconstruction was aimed at reuniting southern states with the union and to strengthen the Republican Party in the South; which were his main supporters. One of the main purposes of Lincoln plan for Reconstruction was that all slaves be freed. In Lincoln Emancipation Proclamation, he stated that all slaves would be declared free in those states still in rebellion against the United States (Lincoln “Emancipation Proclamation: January 1, 1863”). However, this only pertained to those states which, after that date, came under the military control of the Union Army.
It did not concern slaves in states such as Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri and parts of Virginia and Louisiana, that were already occupied by Northern troops. This illustrates Lincoln agenda to have as many African Americans as possible enlist in the Union Army. Under Lincoln plan, for a state to be permitted back in the union, voters had to take an oath of loyalty. If 10% of voters took the oath, statehood would be re-established. Fonder comments that Lincoln did not recognize emancipation as a social revolution or believe that Reconstruction would bring about social ND political changes outside of abolishing of slavery (36).Lincoln main objective was political and although he is given credit for “freeing the slaves”, African Americans earned and fought for this right during the Civil War. President Lincoln was assassinated in April 1 865 for what was a direct correlation to his freeing of slaves.
President Lincoln was a very smart man in that he knew by freeing the slaves, it would further his cause to get the nation under his control. Andrew Johnson succeeded Lincoln for the Presidency after Lincoln unfortunate assassination.Joy moons continued Lincoln moderate policies after Lincoln assassination, but ratification in the South of the Black Codes and demand in the North for stricter legislation, resulted in victories for Radical Republicans in the congressional elections of 1 866 (Senate and Mattson 1 10-111). The Black Codes were a new form of slavery that forced restrictions on freed slaves such as barring their right to vote, forbidding them to sit on juries, limiting their right to testify against whites, carrying weapons in public and working in certain jobs. President Johnson vetoed numerous bills in reference to equality for freed slaves.These bills included he Freedman’s Bureau and Civil Rights which he vetoed in April 1866 (Fonder 247-251). Radical Republicans approved the Civil Rights Bill after Johnny’s veto and were also able to get the Reconstruction Acts passed in 1 867 and 1868.
Despite these acts, control over Southern state governments was steadily restored when organizations such as the UK Klux Klan were able to terrify blacks from voting in elections (Senate and Mattson 122). Once Lincoln was out of the way, Radicals believed they could shape Johnny’s policy. When he disregarded their input they attempted to impeach him in 1968 but failed by one vote.Not condoning President Johnny’s actions but attempting to remove Secretary of War and replaced him someone else was grounds for impeachment. Deeper reasons for his impeachment would be that Johnson was working out in hopes of rectifying the Reconstruction effort and you can’t simply assassinate two Presidents in a row. Radicals such as Ben Butler even endeavored to make a connection between Johnson and the murder of Lincoln (Bowers 164). The 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments had been added to the Constitution by the end of 1870 and resulted in the promises of abolishing slavery made by Lincoln in Emancipation Proclamation.
In his 2nd Inaugural address, Lincoln advocated that the Civil War was God’s punishment of a nation having human beings kept in bondage (Abraham Lincoln “Second Inaugural Address: March 4, 1865″). Just for a slight moment was Lincoln goal realized before the acts of then President Johnson attempted to strip away Lincoln foundation for freedom. Before Lincoln was assassinated he managed to get the thirteenth amendment passed in House after it failed to do so in 1864. This was important for Lincoln with elections coming up and he knew that if this wasn’t eased his chances of reelection would be doubtful.The thirteenth amendment abolished slavery and involuntary servitude and was the first grant of civil rights given to African Americans (thirteenth Amendment: January 31, 1865”). The 14th Amendment was passed into law and protects the rights against state infringements, defines citizenship, prohibits States from interfering with privileges and immunities, requires due process and equal protection, punishes states for denying vote, and disqualifies Confederate officials and debts (“Fourteenth Amendment: June 16, 1866”).For the first time the word “equal” was established into the Constitution.
As a result of the Civil Rights Bill and the Fourteenth Amendment, permitted African Americans the power to make their own labor contracts and commence lawsuits, and delegated upon the federal government the power to protect equal rights and citizenship to all its citizens. The 1 5th Amendment was added to the Constitution which forbids states from refusing citizens the right to vote “on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude” (“Fifteenth Amendment: December 7, 1968”).These three bills that were deed to the Bill of Rights and laid the groundwork for equality were African Americans would be treated fairly and equally in society; something that simply didn’t occur during Reconstruction. Beginning in 1 867, Congress passed Reconstruction Acts that permitted Black males who had been slaves the right to vote and hold public office. Johnson vetoed the Reconstruction bill when it reached his desk on March 2, 1867, but Congress was swiftly overrode his veto and passed it into law (Bowers 155). John W.Meaner was elected to the House of Representatives from Louisiana UT was barred from assuming his seat in Congress by white members.
Meaner made history by becoming the first Black American to ever address Congress while defending his claim for the seated he rightfully deserved (Dray 70). Joseph Haynes Rained was the first Black seated member in the House of Representatives. Rained a native of South Carolina, momentarily owned a slave and served in the Confederate Army (Dray 55). Hiram Revels became the nation’s first Black senator in 1870 by represented Mississippi in the U. S. Senate.He was a minister and newly appointed senator that like Meaner, had o fight for his seat in Congress (Dray 70).
Revels was admired for his overestimated skills and he used those skills to fight efforts to keep Washington D. C. Schools segregated and to assist black workers from being barred from working in the Washington D. C. Navy yard. Radical Republicans such as Senator Charles Sumner of Massacre guests and Congressman Thatched Stevens of Pennsylvania fought for bills that would help the freed slaves assimilate into the American society and achieve equal rights with their white citizens (Dray 53).Stevens was largely known for his role in engineering he impeachment of President Johnson.
These capitol men’s thirty-one years of occupancy in Congress came to a halt on March 4, 1 901 , when both houses of North Carolina legislation passed resolutions denied blacks the right to vote (Dray 351 As soon as the Union Army withdrew its troops from the South, life and liberty were at risk for African Americans.Southern states weren’t intimidated by the Fifteenth Amendment which gave African Americans the right to vote and led by Mississippi and South Carolina conceived ways to stop their citizenship and voting rights (Senate and Mattson 126). There were three static integrated to eradicate African American voters from the polls; criminal convictions, poll taxes and literacy tests. Although these devices were absurd, if someone has committed a criminal offense, then they don’t deserve the right to vote.Of course this law still applies today to criminals but when you look at the times these devices were put into place and the racist people who judge these men, you have to wonder if some had committed any crimes at all. The main issue with this tactic is that whites that had committed the same crimes were permitted the right to vote which goes directly against the Fifteenth Amendment. The poll taxes was a very clever idea in that if you African Americans wanted to vote, they had to pay the tax nine months earlier and keep the receipt when they came to the polls.
If a person lost their receipt they couldn’t vote and were turned away. This tactic was the most unjust out of the three; why the Southern states would chose a timeshare Of nine months in advance to pay the poll tax but who is going to be able to keep a receipt in excellent condition let alone still have possession after nine months. The last ploy used was that a potential voter had to exhibit that he could read ND understand sections of the state constitution (Senate and Mattson 126-127). This makes sense because if someone sins familiar with the state constitution they are voting on, then why are they voting.The problem with this is that the registrar was the only judge which left room for discrimination. All southern states had passed laws to keep African Americans from voting. These laws were renowned as the “Grandfather Clauses” and resulted in whites who may had lost the right to vote, the right to vote.
These “Grandfather Clauses” enforced a law passed in Louisiana that prevented African Americans from voting. The law stated that “No male person who was on January 1st, 1867 or at any date prior thereto, entitled to vote… And no son or grandson of any such person…
Hall be denied the right to register or vote” (Senate and Mattson 127). Now this one was over the top because African Americans weren’t given the right to vote until after March 2, 1867. With this in mind, the law is biased to practically every African American in the state. The government sat back and allow this to occur, knowing that the Southern states are deceptive is one thing button put it into law is another. In conclusion, if President Lincoln wasn’t assassinated, most of these horrendous acts may have been avoided in African Americans struggle to oppose inequality.