Beginning during the Civil War and continuing until the end of Reconstruction, there were many continuous events that happened that all led up to a revolution. The momentous conflict pitted “brother against brother” and revolutionized America in a way never seen before. The radical shift in laws and the federal governments influence in the social sphere both contributed to a partial Revolution and it changed the face of the United States Constitution forever.
Before the Civil War, slavery was legal in the United States and it was legislated by the individual states. The plan for Reconstruction that the military had said that before entering the Union, it was required that rebellious state legislatures has to adopt the 13th amendment. This amendment provided for the abolition of the institution of slavery. The power was no longer with the states, the United States Constitutional Amendment could and would override any state law. Soon after, the 14th amendment and the 15th amendment were both ratified. Both provided African Americans with a little more rights and freedom. Now that they had the right to vote, African Americans needs would have to be catered to by politicians that were elected to office.
Along with the end of Reconstruction, after the Hayes-Tilden controversy, southerners became careless in enforcing the Civil Rights Act of 1866, although it was typically not enforced at all. The Ku Klux Klan (KKK) was the strongest anti-black force in the South that resented that the government granted rights to blacks who felt they were unworthy of the honors and rights they were given. They enjoyed intimidating the blacks, along with other white southerners, and they did so to the point where African Americans never felt like they could fully enjoy the rights that the Constitution granted them. Murders, lynchings, and beatings damaged the free slaves, who also had to deal with the humiliation with the Jim Crow laws that attempted to separate blacks and whites in everyday life. These practices of the KKK brought along another social revolution. Although some African Americans were free, they found it extremely difficult to fit into a white society. The Civil Rights movement of the 1960s clearly showed how the social revolution resulted in the freeing of slaves that had continued all throughout American History.
The years between 1860 until 1877 was a time full of social and constitutional developments. Blacks went from having a citizen status to being given their civil rights. The small revolution helped the black community but didn’t completely revolutionize the entire states. These changes occurring simultaneously certainly come together to be a revolution in the American way of life.
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