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Radical Reconstruction

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On January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed into effect the Emancipation Proclamation, the immortal document that ended the tragedy of American slavery forever. This legislation allowed America to finally live out its traditional values of liberty and equality for all and signalled the apex of forward movement and social mobility in the U.S. Once the Civil War had come to a close in May 1865, the terms of the Emancipation Proclamation finally revealed themselves fully to all Americans. Southern society, particularly the economy, was annihilated after slaves, the main source of labor in the South, had been relinquished from their duties on Southern plantations. This destruction of the South brought about the question of how the …show more content…
The Radicals were mainly made up of Northern whites and believed firmly in putting blacks and whites on an equal basis in the U.S. The Radicals were highly favored among those living in the North and West, but were despised by Southern whites because of their main platform and ideology of equality for blacks and whites. The competing ideologies of the Radicals and the moderate Republicans often led to heated clashes and debates between the two groups who, ironically, had the same goal. However, in the election of 1866, the Radicals were able to take a majority in both Houses of Congress and now had much greater influence in the ordeal of American Reconstruction. The Radicals made several attempts at achieving their goal of equality for blacks and whites, such as the institution of the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and the 14th Amendment of the Constitution. While these plans were effective in creating a certain level of equality among blacks and whites, the Radicals were collectively unable to achieve their ultimate goals of civil rights for blacks because of the inflexibility of President Johnson to listen to Radical ideas and the harsh Black Codes that plagued the South for years to come, including segregation and …show more content…
Certainly, the end of slavery did not signify the end of hardships and deprivation for African Americans. White Southerners were very unwilling to leave behind their traditional roots and adapt to a new way of life where blacks and whites were equal. Southerners could not even fathom the idea of being on an equal basis with the people they once owned and subjugated, and so detested Northerners and Radicals for destroying their lifestyle. Southern legislators searched for a way to keep African Americans in a subservient role to whites and were able to do so through the creation of the Black Codes in 1865 and 1866. These Codes were meant to limit the rights of Southern blacks and create a system almost identical to slavery in the South without fully re-enslaving African Americans. The Black Codes were unique to each Southern state and some of the most famous Codes included the Grandfather Clause and the literacy tests required for voting in Southern legislatures. These Codes were able to gain the vast popularity and momentum they did because of the lenient policies of Lincoln and Johnson, which allowed former Confederate leaders to retake public office after the fall of the Confederacy. As a result of these policies, it was almost as if slavery had never been ended, and all the men that died in the

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