Running head: SURVEY OF UNITED STATES HISTORY TASK 31Survey of Unites States History: Task 3Jaime F. AlvarezWestern Governors University
SURVEY OF UNITED STATES HISTORY TASK 32Part A: Major Changes in Race RelationsThe process of Reconstruction proved to be rather difficult. Radical Republicans sought to severely punish the South for their secession, while southerners loathed the Northerners for the destruction of their land and lifestyle. When the Thirteenth Amendment was passed in 1865, abolishing slavery, many slaves found the promises of equality still eluded them. The federal government had promised them 40 acres and mules with which they could work their land, but that was repealed, and their land given away. Another problem for the south was that landowners were unable to secure credit and African Americans did not have the means to purchase their own land, nor would most white landowners rent it out to them. Thus, the two groups resorted to a new agreement where the landowners would supply the land, seed, food etc. while the poor workers tended the crops. Both parties would split the crop yield. This ultimately turned into a new form of bondage for the black community as their debt continued to climb, deepening their dependence once again on former masters. “Laws favoring landowners made it difficult or even illegal for sharecroppers to sell their crops to others besides their landlord or prevented sharecroppers from moving if they were indebted to their landlord.” [ CITATION PBS19 \l 1033 ]. Thus, the black community found themselves in an endless cycle that would continue for many years. Another major change brought about by the Reconstruction was universal manhood suffrage. The Fifteenth Amendment prohibited states from denying the vote based on color of their skin or whether they were once a slave. This essentially granted African Americans the right to participate in government, something they had been denied in the south since before the nation’s founding. Unfortunately, southerners were unhappy with this arrangement and sought to thwart the black progress brought about by Radical Republican legislation. They exploited loopholes
SURVEY OF UNITED STATES HISTORY TASK 33from the language in the laws, which allowed them to institute poll taxes too high for black men to afford and qualification tests. [ CITATION Nor15 \l 1033 ]. These practices effectively disenfranchised thousands of black voters for many years to come. Not all changes brought about by Reconstruction were negative. One major change that benefitted the black community was the access to education. While they were enslaved, black people were not allowed to educate themselves. With their newfound freedom, blacks joined together to learn. They were aided in their endeavors by their church groups and the Freedmen’s Bureau. “The Bureau worked with the black churches to locate suitable teachers, to provide funds for schools, and eventually to create colleges which were heavily focused on the training of future educators.” [ CITATION Dan12 \l 1033 ].