The Reconstruction Period (1865-1877)

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The Reconstruction period (1865-1877) was the era of rebuilding, the south, after the Civil War. In the South reconstruction meant rebuilding the economy, establishing new state and local governments and establishing a new social structure between whites and blacks. Abolishing slavery, what should be demanded of the Southern states, restoring political rights to the South, and what should be the responsibility of the newly freed slaves were the concerns doing the Reconstruction period. They also wanted to know how the economy should be rebuilt based on free labor. Reconstruction addressed how the eleven seceding states would regain self-government and be reseated in Congress. The laws and constitutional amendments that laid the foundation for the most radical phase of Reconstruction were adopted from 1866 to 1871. The 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments did many things. The 13th Amendment established the Freedman’s Bureau which was an agency of the Federal government set up in 1865 to help former slaves and other persons suffering from the effects of the Civil War. The 13th Amendment said: “Neither slavery nor forced labor shall exist within the United States or its possessions except as a punishment for one convicted of a crime. Congress may make laws to enforce this article. ” The 14th Amendment said in section four: “The Federal Government shall pay all its debts, including debts contracted in putting down rebellion. But neither federal nor state governments may pay debts contracted by aiding a rebellion against the United States, nor pay anyone for the loss of slaves. The 15th Amendment said: “Neither federal nor state governments can deny any citizen the right to vote because of his race or color, or because he was once in bondage. Congress can pass laws for carrying out this article. ” The North’s commitment to Reconstruction soon waned. Many Republicans came to believe that the South should solve its own problems without further interference from Washington. Reports of Reconstruction corruption led many Northerners to conclude that black suffrage had been a mistake.

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