Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 11th grade February 2008

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Reconstruction was Abraham Lincoln's plan to reunite the country, not to reform it. After the war Lincoln sent one of his generals to tour the south and find out what years of war had done to the confederate states. During the generals tour of the south he realized that if the confederate states were left alone during the post war years they would come up with a new form of forced labor and blacks would be in the same position as they were before the war. Blacks needed land and voting rights to defend themselves and until southern whites abandoned their old beliefs that would not happen.

The conditions of the former slaves didn't change that drastically at first. Most slaves went back to work on farms and plantations but now they were getting wages and didn't have to worry about violence from their planters since whipping had been outlawed after the war.

Most ex-slaves weren't happy with this because they wanted their own land since they were after all free men. In 1865 the government set up the Freedman's Bureau to ease the transition of blacks from slave to free people. The bureau also got permission from congress to divide abandoned property into 40 acre plots and rent the plots to freedman with intentions of selling them the property later. To most blacks however freedom just meant that they could do everything that they had wanted to do but couldn't since they were bound to a plantation. A lot of blacks enjoyed just going for walks and seeing what was up the road or over the hill, they could sleep past sunrise and speak to whites whenever they felt like it. Most freed slaves left slavery with a desire to learn to read and write and many blacks went...