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Chapter 22: The Ordeal of Reconstruction

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Ryan Engel


AP U.S. History

10 January 2019

Chapter 22: The Ordeal of Reconstruction

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  2. The freed slaves were very pleased to see slavery come to an end. However, many were also skeptical. One North Carolina slave estimated that "he had celebrated freedom about twelve times." Many took new names in place of the ones given by their masters. Additionally, "emancipation strengthened the black family, and many newly freed men and women formalized 'slave marches' for personal and pragmatic reasons." The Northern Whites were charmed to hear of slavery's emancipation. For the Southern Whites, however, it meant an end to cheap labor resulting in mass job loss and homelessness. (Pages 466, 467, 468).
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  4. The Reconstruction implemented by Congress, which lasted from 1866 to 1877, was aimed at reorganizing the Southern states after the Civil War. The Radical Republican Congress sought to safeguard the rights and liberties of African-Americans. Southern black men held public office at the local, state, and federal levels. Black communities established their own churches, schools, and associations. Additionally, the South received some of its first public hospitals and schools. This, however, did not last in most places. (Pages 472, 473, 474, 47).
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  6. After the Civil War, with the protection of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments, African Americans enjoyed a period in which they were allowed to vote, actively participate in the political process, acquire the land of former owners, seek their own employment, and use public accommodations. Many successfully took advantage of the right to vote and organized politically. Others held political authority after being elected as delegates to the state constitutional conventions. They failed, however, to meet see past the lies of many political figures. "This was especially true in South Carolina and Louisiana, where conscienceless promoters and other pocket-padders used politically inexperienced blacks as pawns." (Pages 475, 476, 478, 479)
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  9. Reconstruction was problematic as it sought to punish the South who had already been defeated. Radical Republicans worsened the racial divide by using blacks as puppets, putting them into political positions and convincing them they were looking out for their interests when in fact they were not. The Reconstruction's failure was deeply rooted in the history of American sectional and race relations. White Southerners who had lost the war created a new form of oppression with sharecropping. Other issues resulted from the North's failure to address the problems faced by the South. (Pages 479,482, 483)

  1. Reconstruction’s greatest successes were the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments to the Constitution which abolished slavery, allowed black males to vote, and established equal protection rights regardless of race. I would agree with historians, as these amendments quite literally laid the foundations for the Civil Rights movement. During the time, however, the South ignored the newly imposed amendments. (Pages 475, 476, 477, 479)



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