The Civil War was a defining moment in American history. The Civil War was fought between the northern and the southern regions of the United States, over the institution of slavery and its future in the union. The northern states had mostly abandoned the practice of slavery by the mid 1800s, but slavery was still by and large the major economic tool of the southern states (Wilson). The southern states wanted to extend and protect their crowning institution of slavery, which the northern states had begun to combat.
The institution of slavery went into question in the new western territories. States such as Missouri and California were being introduced into the union at the time, and the northern and southern states fought over whether slavery would be allowed into those states. Whether or not a new state was a "slave state", became a bitter battle that had long standing political ramifications.
Both sides wanted more states their mirrored their own thinking, so that they would have more political power in Washington DC. Gaining another slave state for example, would mean gaining more delegates in the House of Representatives and two more Senators, who could vote on the issues in the future. Having more states that mirrored your own thinking, then, meant that you might gain the power to decide the issue in the future.
[...] Instead, Reconstruction went the other direction, discrimination against black people and making them fearful of living in the United States. Reconstruction could have been the crowning achievement of the north, a major step forward in a new direction of the entire country. Instead of focusing energy and resources on holding an entire group of people back, the United States could have focused on bringing those people into the fray and using them for their economic power in the free market economy. [...]
[...] N.p., n.d. Web May 2013. "Reconstruction." History.com. A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web May 2013. Wilson. "Reconstruction." Reconstruction. N.p., n.d. Web May 2013. [...]
[...] Color discrimination was banned, and it seemed like there was going to be equality in the United States fairly soon. Since most of the old Southern politicians were banned from office after the Civil War, it seemed that black people would begin to rise in economic and social status quicker than had been previously expected (Wilson). The 13th amendment solidified the end of the war, and the end of slavery, in what was supposed to be a new day for the United States. [...]
[...] After the end of the Civil War, Reconstruction meant rebuilding the South. Lincoln did not want to punish the southern states too harshly for their disobedience. He decided that he was going to offer them "fair" terms, even though the now entirely northern Congress wanted to dominate the negotiation and force them into a painful political submission. Lincoln did not yield, and continued to offer the south readmission in the union if they pledged their allegiance to the United States and gave up slavery. [...]
[...] After Lincoln's death, Reconstruction began to turn in a very different direction (Wilson). Instead of being something that was entirely liberating and strengthening for blacks, it became something that was terrifying and limiting. The KKK's establishment helped to terrorize and murder many black families from across the south. Jim Crow laws stopped blacks from voting for nearly another century, and they were forced into segregation, low wage jobs, and almost no way up in society. Blacks were forced into an almost permanent class of servitude, and the ramifications of those failures of Reconstruction still linger today. [...]
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