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The Civil War destroyed slavery and placed the question of black citizenship on the national agenda. The Confederacy's vice president, Alexander H....

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The Civil War destroyed slavery and placed the question of black citizenship on the
national agenda. The Confederacy's vice president, Alexander H. Stephens, identified slavery as
the ”cornerstone" of the Confederacy. Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1363, the cause of the Union became linked to the promise of freedom for the
slaves. The Proclamation also authorized for the first time the enrollment of black men in the Union army. Initially paid less than white soldier former slave soldiers banded together and in
1864 and 1865 Congress insured they would receive equal compensation to white soldiers. After the Civil War and Reconstruction, the abolitionist principles of birthright citizenship
and equal protection of the law without regard to race were written into the Constitution in an
attempt to strip American freedom of its identification. These changes affected all Americans,
not just the former slaves. The Fourteenth Amendment made the Constitution what it had
never been before, a mechanism through which groups can take their claims that they lack
equality and freedom to court. Reconstruction failed to secure black freedom and was followed
by a long period of inequality for black Americans. The laws and amendments of the Civil War remained written “sleeping giants" in the Constitution, as Senator Charles Sumner called them. In the post War South violence remained widespread. In the early years of
Reconstruction violence was mostly local and unorganized. Former slaves were assaulted and
murdered for offending white folk or even trying to purchase land. Not only was there violence
but underground societies started to organize with the main objective or preventing former
slave’s rights and stopping them from voting. The most notorious of these backroom societies
was the Ku Klux Klan. Founded in 1866 in Tennessee this group pf nasty individuals made life
hell for the former slave trying to start there "freedom” in the South. Plain and simple they
were a terrorist organization who targeted black in the south and little was done by the law to
stop it. Not very conducive to the idea of Southern freedom. Their victims also included white
Republicans, teachers and party organizers. In 13?0 an Irish born teacher that taught in black
schools was lynched for iust trying to educate.

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