Reconstruction - Running head RECONSTRUCTION 1...

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Running head: RECONSTRUCTION 1 Reconstruction Melissa Ziepfel HIS/125 May 6, 2012
RECONSTRUCTION 2 Reconstruction One of the most dramatic and argumentatively most important time period in the United States of America is the era following the Civil War, which lasted from eighteen sixty three through eighteen seventy seven. This time period known as Reconstruction has remained a controversial topic among historians throughout the years. It has been described by many as a bloody and unmoving battleground for many civil war and post-civil war historians . There are different arguments as to what exactly the plight of African Americans was during the reconstruction era. Three major works on the subject will be used to study and analyze the ultimate question in this essay: What were the lives like of African Americans in the South during the reconstruction period? From eighteen sixty one to eighteen sixty five, the United States of America was divided in a civil war that pitted the eleven southern states that succeeded from the United States officially known as the Confederated States of America (also South or Confederacy) against the remaining twenty five states (also known as the North or Union) . This war lasting from eighteen sixty one to eighteen sixty five, pitted family against family, neighbor against neighbor, and community against community. When it was done over five hundred thousand American’s lost their lives and left economy and infrastructure of the loosing southern states in a shamble . Being that the war that was fought was a civil war to maintain the unification of the country, the responsibility for the reconstruction of the economic, political, social, and physical infrastructure was the responsibility of the United States of America. This period of reconstruction and readjustment, lasting from eighteen sixty five through eighteen seventy seven, in United States of America history is known as Reconstruction. At the end of the Civil War, the South was a defeated and ruined land. The physical destruction wrought by the invading Union forces was enormous, and the old social and economic order founded on slavery had collapsed completely with nothing to replace it. With the passing of the thirteenth amendment, freeing the slaves, the
RECONSTRUCTION 3 once free labor that slavery provided was done away with and could no longer be depended on to rebuild the collapsed economy. Many felt that this was necessary to permanently destroy all forms of Confederate nationalism, which some felt could be easily accomplished as soon as the

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