reconstruction - Sasha Rozenberg Per 1 The Ordeal of...

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Sasha Rozenberg 10/30/06 Per. 1 The Ordeal of Reconstruction, 1865-1877 1. The major problems facing the South and the nation after the civil war were tremendous. The south was physically devastated by war; to be rebuilt was a very difficult challenge. There were many questions; how would liberated blacks fare as free men and women? How would the Southern states be reintegrated into the Union? And who would direct the process of reconstruction? The economic life in the South came to a stop. Banks and businesses were closed down because of inflation. Factories were lifeless, silent and dismantled. The transportation system was down completely. The agriculture of the south was left hopeless, once lush cotton fields were now green weeds. The slave system labor had collapsed, seed was scarce, and all the live stock was plundered by the Union. Only by 1870 did the southern states produce a large cotton crop, most of that land came form the south west. Rich aristocrats had lost their 2 billion dollar investments in slaves because of the emancipation. The first thing the reconstruction addressed was the issue with all the free slaves now; they started the Freedmen’s Bureau which was to be a primitive welfare agency to provide food, clothing, medical care, and education both to freed men and white refugees. This was extinguished by President Johnson. 2. The freed black men were all very confused, still contemplating the meaning of “freedom”. The emancipation took effect immediately but only in certain states of the new nation. Many blacks found themselves emancipated and then re enslaved. Every state had different ideas on freedom and was still very strongly against the freedom of the slaves. Slave’s owners would hang slaves to create fear in other slaves to not dare run away or imagine freedom. For many slaves shackles were not struck off right away. The variety or responses to emancipation, by white as well as blacks, displayed the ridiculous difficulty of the master-slave relationship. Some slaves were so loyal to their masters they resisted the Union army, while other slaves became very violent on the day of emancipation. Many newly freed slaves joined the union army. All slave owners were to face the facts that their former slaves were now free. Many emancipated blacks went in search for their families, emancipation strengthened the black family, and many newly freed men and women formalized marriage. The Northern whites full heartedly supported the emancipation and reconstruction to help the freedmen. 3. The reconstruction act was finally passed on March 2, 1867. This drastic legislation divided the South into five military districts, each commanded by a Union general and policed by blue-clad soldiers, and the act also disfranchised ten of thousands of former confederate soldiers. Military reconstruction of the South seized certain functions of the President as commander and chief but set up a martial regime of dubious legality. The Supreme Court had already ruled, in the case Ex parte Milligan (1866) that the military
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This note was uploaded on 01/13/2011 for the course HIST 120 taught by Professor Powell during the Spring '09 term at Diablo Valley College.

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reconstruction - Sasha Rozenberg Per 1 The Ordeal of...

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