Man representing the Freedman's Bureau stands between armed groups of
Euro-Americans and Afro-Americans.

 

Reconstruction

 

In the South plantations and homes were burned during the war. The fields were left unattended. The Confederate money was worthless. The Southerners felt very beaten. Because of this Lincoln wanted to make it easy for the Southern states to rejoin the Union. Many Northerners were angry over this.

Lincoln asked only four things of the Southerners.

  1. to free the slaves

  2. Confederate government disband

  3. new state governments for each Southern state be formed

  4. no former leaders of the Confederate or high ranking officers could be a part of the new government

Many Northerners thought Lincoln was being too easy on the South.

On April 14, 1865 only five days after the Confederate army surrendered, Lincoln was killed at Ford's Theater in Washington by John Wilkes Booth. The Vice President Andrew Johnson became President. He tried to go ahead with Lincoln's Plans in Congress.

A group called the Radical Republicans in Congress wanted to punish slave states and passed many laws that were hard on the South. Lincoln probably could have changed this because he was a Republican and well respected. Johnson was unable to. The 13th Amendment was passed in December 1865. It said that slavery was unconstitutional.

The Ku Klux Klan was formed. This was a group which burned, whipped, and murdered Blacks and carpetbaggers.

Slave states made laws called the Black Codes. These were to keep Black people from voting, serving on juries, getting jobs, owning land, or going to school.

The federal government set up the Freedmen's Bureau to work against the Black Codes. They gave food, clothing, medical care, and set up schools for the Blacks.

The 14th Amendment was passed. It said all Blacks were citizens of the United States and all laws against Blacks were unconstitutional. Congress also divided the South into five military districts. Each of these had a general in charge of the region. The general sent troops out into the district to make sure the Blacks were given fair rights.

A group of Northern people came to the South to find power and money. They were called carpetbaggers. They took money for getting laws passed, giving railroad rights, and helping certain people. Most carpetbaggers were only looking to make themselves rich and were not looking for the good of the South.

The 15th Amendment was passed. It gave Blacks over the age of 21 the right to vote.

 

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