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Civil War Reconstruction Dbq

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During the time period of 1860 and 1877 many major changes occurred. From the beginning of the civil war to the fall of the reconstruction, the United States changed dramatically. Nearly one hundred years after the Declaration of Independence which declared all men equal, many social and constitutional alterations were necessary to protect the rights of all people, no matter their race. These social and constitutional developments that were made during 1860 to 1877 were so drastic it could be called a revolution.

The election of Abraham Lincoln and the secession of the South led to the outbreak of the civil war. The civil war was the first revolutionary change in America. States' rights were a major issue during this time. Issues of power, different interpretations of the constitution, and banking issues led to many difficulties. South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union. In South Carolina's Declaration of Causes, it was stated that "powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states" (Document A). The 10th amendment which limited the power of the federal government had acted as a backing for the secession of the South. Nowhere in the constitution did it say that the states had no right to secede from the Union. This secession from the union forever changed the country. Another major change that occurred after the civil war was the thirteenth amendment which abolished slavery. Even though the slaves had fought for the Union in the civil war, they were unable to take any political action and were still inferior as it is stated in document C. The fifteenth amendment granted the right to vote to all men no matter the race. It was argued that the "federal government has no right and has not attempted to dictate on the matter of suffrage to any state" (Document C). When blacks were given the right to vote, it was only somewhat successful. Many blacks did use their new political power to vote as it is shown in Harper's Weekly (Document G), but whites still tried to stop them. Literacy tests, grandfather clauses, and fear caused by the Ku Klux Klan were used to keep blacks from exercising their right to vote. Another issue of reconstruction was the banking and currency system. In an attempt to uniform the currency, Senator John Sherman gave a speech saying that with "a currency and a medium of exchange, we shall have a broader and more generous nationality" (Document B). At the time many states had their own currency and a change needed to be made to unite the states. A sense of nationality was needed as the nation was in turmoil after the attempted secession of the South. Reconstruction came to an end in 1877 with the Compromise of 1877. Rutherford Hayes became president for agreeing to end federal support for Southern Republicans and building a transcontinental railroad. In this compromise he also withdrew troops from the South. This, along with the rejection of laws protecting blacks from discrimination, brought reconstruction to an end in 1877.

Many social changes occurred during the time from 1860 to 1877. In the history of the United States, blacks had been viewed as less than equal to whites. This was clearly shown through the three-fifths compromise which counted slaves as less than an actual person. During the reconstruction, civil



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