his357d - Alan Lenhart HIS 357D Midterm Part One Long Essay...

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Alan Lenhart HIS 357D Midterm Part One Long Essay Questions: Question #1: The Reconstruction was a failure for African Americans because not enough was done in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War to establish a movement towards racial equality in American society. In this course we have learned “the moment to achieve lasting social change in a conquered society is at the moment of victory. Peace without resolution of social problems leads to lasting bitterness and hatred”. When looking back at the Reconstruction, it is easy to see that not enough was done at the moment of victory to achieve lasting social change. Immediately following the end of the Civil War in 1865, the 13 th Amendment was passed abolishing slavery. Then in 1867 the 14 th Amendment was passed, granting African Americans citizenship and equal protection under law. In 1870 the 15 th Amendment allowed blacks the right to vote. Booker T. Washington may have said it best when he concluded that, “the Reconstruction experiment in racial democracy failed because it began at the wrong end, emphasizing political means and civil rights acts rather than economic means and self-determination”. While the passing of the 13 th , 14 th , and 15 th Amendments were significant in establishing the foundation for which blacks should be given equal rights, the lack of institutional support at the social and economic level deemed these advancements on the political level as practically pointless. The slaves were freed and given these constitutional rights, but without the support of economic advancement, these freed slaves were subject to ending up right back into an oppressive society. Once they were back into the rut, it became easy for politicians to manipulate laws and find ways to restrict the rights they were supposed to be given. This is exactly what happened (both legally and extra-legally) and is the reason why almost 100 years after the Civil Rights Act of 1875, we needed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to re-state the same things. Black codes and Jim Crow laws kept the nation segregated while Supreme Court decisions in the Civil Rights Cases
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of 1883 and Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896 showed that the federal government wasn't committed to enforcing that blacks be given equal treatment. The Civil Rights Cases of 1883 deemed the Civil Rights Act of 1875 as unconstitutional and allowed for segregation in the private sector. Plessy v. Ferguson upheld that decision and stated that “separate but equal is constitutional”. Perhaps the biggest mistake was made during the Reconstruction Act of 1867 when southern states were allowed back into the Union with many of the same leaders they had during the Civil War. The idea behind the Act was to get all southern states to ratify the 14 th Amendment, but they would soon find ways around it by incorporating poll taxes, literacy tests, grandfather clauses and property tax. While blacks were able to participate in the re-writing of the states' constitutions as well as hold office,
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This note was uploaded on 09/27/2011 for the course HIS 357D taught by Professor Wal during the Spring '11 term at University of Texas.

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his357d - Alan Lenhart HIS 357D Midterm Part One Long Essay...

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