I'm so glad the war is done. All of our hardships are over!
Not quite, my friend. The civil war may be over, but we have a long period of reconstruction ahead of us.
Reconstruction: The time after the civil war when attempts were made to restore the union and grant freed slaves rights. 1863-1877
There are three available reconstruction plans. Lincoln's, Johnson's, and the radical republicans.
Lincoln's Plan Lincoln wanted the south to pledge loyalty to the USA, follow the new slavery laws, a tenth of voters in the state had to pledge allegiance to the new US, and the South had to pay off all war debts.
Radical Republicans' Plan The radical republicans sought revenge against the South. They wanted to punish them while protecting the rights of the recently freed slaves.
Johnson's Plan Johnson's plan was almost the same as Lincolns, the key difference being high ranking confederate officials would not be able to take the loyalty pledge or be pardoned.
The Freedmen's Bureau was established in 1865 by congress to help the millions of former black slaves and poor whites in the South in the aftermath of the civil war. It established schools, hospitals, and tried to settle former slaves on land claimed in the war.
The Freedmen's Bureau was funded by the U.S. government, and it had both successes and failures. It succeeded in bringing relief to the millions of sufferers in the south, but it failed to completely establish equality in the southern mindset.
The Civil War Amendments
The 14th Amendment The fourteenth amendment granted all persons born in or naturalized in the U.S. American citizenship. This included the freed black slaves. This is important because it actually allowed the black populace to have basic human rights.
The 15th Amendment The fifteenth amendment granted all U.S. citizens, now including the African American population, the right to vote regardless of race, color, or whether they've been a slave. This is important because it shows the government was trying to grant equality to former slaves, though in many states they would still be stopped from voting in one form or another.
The 13th Amendment The thirteenth amendment outlawed slavery and the owning of slaves in the United states and all of the territories that it controls. This signified to the U.S. that the civil war had a purpose.
Changes During this Time Period
Social change was also not great. The Southerners realized that they were now equal to the people that they used to own. This caused them to form the Ku Klux Klan to protect white power in the South. Racial prejudices in the South were ultimately worsened as the Southerners became spiteful.
Political change was minimal, although effort was being made to integrate and equalize African Americans. This is because while civil rights amendments were passed that caused former slaves to participate in government, the Southern states countered these advancements by passing discriminatory laws against African Americans.
Economic change was drastically different across the U.S. The Southern states fell into economic disrepair after losing the large majority of their labor force. The Northern states on the other hand became an economic giant after the civil war, and their factories benefitted greatly from the huge influx of workers.
The Oppression Continues
Many terror groups formed in the Southern states to preserve what they called the "white power" that they believed was threatened by the freedom of African Americans. The Ku Klux Klan, Red Shirts, White League, and the Knights of the White Camellia, were secret groups that fought to prolong the oppression of African Americans, often isolating and killing black people to intimidate the black populace in the South. Their efforts succeeded, and at the end of the reconstruction period in 1877, white supremacy was reality for the South.
Jim Crow Laws Jim Crow laws were laws that were proprietors of segregation. Forcing blacks to use different restaurants, drinking fountains, bathrooms, schools and many other separate, but worse versions of facilities that white people had.