The period after the Civil war has always been referred to as the reconstruction era. The reconstruction era can be defined from two perspectives. First, it covers the story of the United States between the periods of 1865 to 1877. The second part revolved around the transformation of the United States in 1863 to 1877 through the directive of the congress. An era was full of so much pain and endless questions. It is argued in different quarters that although the war was over reconstruction was still a conflict. It was a fighting propagated by radical northerners. They were after punishing the southerners who were adamant on change of their way of life. The paper looks at reconstruction from these two perspectives.
The end of the Civil war in the year 1865 gave about four million slaves their freedom. However, the process of rebuilding the south during this era provided so many challenges that the country faced. The president, Andrew Johnson, and his administration had introduced legislation restriction “black codes” with the aim of controlling the behavior of former slaves and other African-Americans. The results of this legislation were an out roar in the north. The outrage that was witnessed minimized support for the legislation that was known as the presidential reconstruction. It, on the contrary, gave a lifeline for a win for a more radical reconstruction by the Republican Party. All this was commenced in 1867, which saw African-Americans having voice in the government for the first time in history.
At the beginning of the war, the president, Abraham Lincoln, did not want to push for the radical abolition of slavery in the north. He had feared that he would push the boarder slave states further into Confederacy, and in the process anger the conservative northerners. The slaves however pushed for this policy on their own in 1862 headed by thousands to the Union lines as the Lincoln’s troops marched through the south. It redefined the notion proliferated by the “peculiar institution” that slaves were content in their position. It was a factor that convinced Lincoln that emancipation of slaves was a political and military necessity that had to be accomplished. It is in response to the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 that saw more than three million slaves freed and their enlisting in the Union Army in large numbers reaching more than one hundred and eighty thousand by the end of the war.
Reconstruction was more of rebuilding of a nations notion of slavery. It did not only mark the star of equality that the slaves had been fighting for in a very long time, but also the end of a nations division. It changed the position the blacks occupied in society. All the achievements within this period have been associated with the two presidents that were in power within this era.
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