C121 Task 3.docx - C121 Task 3 A Many major changes...

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C121 Task 3 A. Many major changes occurred for both whites and blacks during Reconstruction. Among them were changes in labor arrangements, migration patterns, and laws. Labor arrangements changed because Southern slaveholders that relied on the slave system lost the backbone of their wealth. They no longer owned black Americans and Southern agriculture depreciated into depression. As a result of their role while enslaved, many former slaves with agricultural skills began sharecropping as a means of livelihood. They bargained with white landowners for food and supplies in return for a portion of the crops they produced. This allowed white landowners to benefit as well because they got laborers back that they had lost and it eased some of their own financial hardships. As the economic depression worsened, many white farmers lost their land and also turned to sharecropping. “By Reconstruction’s end, over one-third of southern farms were worked by sharecropping tenants, white and black” (Norton, 2015). The migration patterns of blacks altered because they were no longer bound to plantations as enslaved people. Many blacks relocated their houses while others settled as laborers at their former plantations, but with an attempt at controlling their own labor conditions. Many families of former slaves began to reunite with each other after being separated during slavery and established homes together. Most knew that their freedom wasn’t going to be accompanied by racial equality and moved to minimize their contact with whites in corners of land they formerly worked while “other rural dwellers established small, all-black settlements that still exist along the South’s back roads” (Norton, 2015). Another major change that was taking place was the changing laws that were necessary for Reconstruction. The South seemed to be trying to preserve African American servitude
through black codes that required “former slaves to carry passes, observe a curfew, and live in housing provided by a landowner” (Norton, 2015). To counteract the black codes, President Johnson reached a compromise with Republicans and sought to extend the Freedman’s Bureau and pass a civil rights bill which would force southern courts to practice equality. “The Civil Rights Bill of 1866 was the first statutory definition of the rights of American citizens” (Norton, 2015). But when Johnson neglected the compromise with the Republicans and vetoed the bill, anti-black violence ensued and influenced Republicans to develop a new plan, the Fourteenth Amendment. The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution “conferred citizenship on all persons born or naturalized in the United States and prohibited states from abridging their constitutional privileges and immunities. It also barred states from taking a person’s life, liberty,

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