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Professor Bryan Shuler
9 September 2012
The Reconstruction Era and its Effects on African Americans
After the Civil War ended in 1865, Congress implemented what is known as the Reconstruction, which lasted from 1865-1877. Planned by President Abraham Lincoln, the Reconstruction was a way to quickly reunite the nation and heal the scars left from the brutal war. However, after his unfortunate assassination, Lincoln's Vice President Andrew Johnson took over the responsibility of healing the nation and get it back to its former reunited glory. During the Reconstruction, Southern states were required to rewrite their constitutions, vow loyalty to the Union, and accept the abolition of slavery. Many amendments and laws were passed to give African Americans their freedom and basic civil rights. These included the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments, the Civil Rights Act of 1866, and the Emancipation Proclamation, specifically aimed at the Southern slaves.
Despite all of these laws, extreme measures were taken to prevent them from achieving their god given rights. Southern states used every effort possible to try and limit the rights of the newly freed African Americans. Such measures were the Jim Crow laws, which was the separate but equal clause, and the black codes, both applied to "a person of color". The black codes were designed to limit the free movement of freedmen and, at the same time, ensure Southern planters a stable and cheap labor force (Richardson).
The 14th Amendment was enacted to ensure that a law cannot be passed if it is discriminating any race, primarily for the African Americans in the south. This amendment made it challenging for the southern sates to establish a firm hold on the freed African Americans. However, many southern states found...