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The Construction of a New Nation

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Marvin Wang                                                                                          Period 1

Ms. Ben Nacef                                                                 Reconstruction Essay

The Construction of A New Nation

Ravaged by greed and power in the United States, the agricultural industry would start to boom as millions of Africans are beaten, kidnapped, raped, and forced to work to survive in the hot summer days, being animals as their masters profited off the labor these Africans, the industry would grow to become the biggest from one contributor, slavery.  In the United States during the 1800’s, slavery was a way that the Southern United States would make money, through the labor of natives stripped of their freedom and brought to the United States from Africa. These slaves would pick the cash crop cotton which was in very high demand, and the Northern United States would benefit from it with its textile industries being able to process the cotton coming in from the South and sell it at a higher price meant that the North would be profiting very strongly off this trade. But later on, the North started to open its eyes on slavery as many witness accounts have seen the treatment of slaves all over the South. Finally seeing the harsh part of slavery, the North decides to abolish it in the entire Northern region and wants in gone from the United States, but the South being very dependent on cotton feels that it cannot survive without the crop and having different political views, disagrees with the North’s idea on abolishing slavery and plans to fight to keep slavery just so that the South can keep making money off cotton. But an essential part was politics, not only did the North and South disagree tin each other on whether or not slavery should abolished, but also about state and federal governments. The North was a strong advocate for a stronger federal government in the United States, since then there would be more agreements on creating a foundation, whereas the South believed in a stronger State government as this meant states would be able to do a lot more then be puppets for the federal government, and this disagreement of whether the federal government or the state government should be stronger. After the inauguration of Abraham Lincoln, the South would feel threatened and would succeed or remove themselves from the United States, becoming the Confederacy, making the North the Union, both sides going to war on who is right and who is wrong and this would be called the Civil War. The civil war would become a fierce battle between the Union(North) and the Confederacy(South) as the two fight it out, which leads to a Union victory in the end and the end of slavery with it. But with the abolishment of slavery came the Reconstruction Era, a time where the problems that slavery and the Civil had caused must be resolved for the future of the United States, that in order to be part of the future these problems in the past must be fixed in the present. These problems that the Reconstruction Era would come to face are certain problems dealing mostly with racial, economic, and political issues that came from slavery and the Civil war such as how the United States is going to have to integrate the millions of slaves that have just become free into the American economy. But while these would become problematic for the Reconstruction Era, during the time of its arrival to the end of its lifetime, Reconstruction did successfully solve the problems caused by slavery and the Civil War because of Reconstruction’s signs of positive progression and resolvement of hatred towards black and divisions between the Union and Confederacy.

After the conflict of the Civil War had come to an end with the victory of the Union, over 4 million slaves were released from the shackles of oppression. As the 4 million slaves were freed, a new issue arose for the United States and that was the incorporating these 4 millions slaves into the American economy, as unemployment rates were high amongst slaves everywhere. Slaves weren’t able to find any jobs and would end up without shelter, food, or water. The conflict enraged throughout the states, in which the Reconstruction Era was able to assist in the incorporation of slaves in the American economy, which is from the creation of the Freedmen's Bureau and the freedom to work almost anywhere they wanted. The freedom to work anywhere would allow choice, and the Freedman’s Bureau would assist in the integration of slaves. The choice of work can be seen after the Civil War, as a former slave gives the account of what had happened to him and other slaves on the plantation, and he states, "The white men read a paper to all of us colored people telling us that we were free and could go where we pleased and work for who we pleased.”(1:1) This demonstrates the idea that during the Reconstruction Era, slaves had the freedom to choose what they wanted to and who they wanted to work for. In other words there was a freedom of choice for former slaves, which was something that they didn’t have before, it was originally the idea of black were just slaves that worked for a white owner on a plantation and that was the end of it, but that changed during the Reconstruction Era. But one of biggest reasons in why the Reconstruction proved successful in the aid of incorporating slaves back into the American economy was the Freedmen's Bureau. The Freedmen's Bureau was a bill signed by Congress to help out the newly freed blacks where, "In March Congress seemed to indicate plans for widespread land reform when it authorized the Freedmen’s Bureau to divide confiscated land into small plots for sale to blacks and loyal Southern whites.”(1:5) This plan allowed newly freed blacks to be entrepreneurs and work for themselves as they buy the land to grow food, grow crops for cash and make materials for a house.  The plan could have been seen as a success or as a failure, it all depended on the person that was being asked, but almost all can agree on the fact that “During its years of operation, the Freedmen’s Bureau fed millions of people, built hospitals and provided medical aid, negotiated labor contracts for ex-slaves and settled labor disputes. It also helped former slaves legalize marriages and locate lost relatives, and assisted black veterans. The bureau also was instrumental in building thousands of schools for blacks…”(1:6) The Freedman’s Bureau was a lot more, in the end, then just a plan that had allocated land to freed blacks and loyal Southern whites, but it was a plan that helped the newly free black community be settled into the United States through providing medical attention, food, shelter, and most importantly negotiated contracts that helped allow freed blacks to start making money, putting them into the American economy. While the Freedmen’s Bureau, would end up being dismantled from the vetoing of Andrew Johnson, it proved to to be useful during the Reconstruction Era in the assistance of solving the issue of attempting to incorporate blacks into the American economy.



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