The period of reconstruction in the United States history refers to the years after the Civil War where the North and South tried to discover how to live side by side again. White and black Americans had to form a renewed association as the black slaves in plantations were freed. Reconstruction characterized an uncompleted revolution in race relations, education and politics. One of the most successful outcomes of reconstruction was the revolution in religious life where there was formation of autonomous black churches that were transformed from slave churches. Due to the acquired freedom, black Americans had to familiarize themselves with the new life out of slavery, and to decide how to make a decent living, to get education and, more importantly, preserve their families. The federal government facilitated the writing of a new constitution in all confederate states. This caused the removal of most confederate soldiers as black Americans were allowed to participate in constitutional congress. The new constitution, which recognized all the races, was the result of this action.
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Most freed slaves who had experienced political and social transformation were settled in the Southern part of the United States. However, exploitative systems ensured that wealth was confined in the hands of a few. Sharecropping was one of such systems that is thought to have substituted plantation slavery. Most plantation owners retained knowledge thereby regaining a place that would enable them to have economic influence. Such families were the main forces after the reconstruction as they came back into southern political field, deposed the new constitution and began to endorse. This was the case in 1877 when two presidential candidates had a contested election and the southern democratic aspirant offered to concede defeat with a condition that the federal soldiers in the south were to be withdrawn together with the protection of black civil rights. White Americans and former confederate soldiers started to repossess all the power compositions in the south and began to formulate legislations that would separate whites from blacks. An example of such legislation is the fact that taxpayers’ money of African American that would be used for education of black children was directed to white schools. African Americans had to struggle with underfunded education resources for many years but this did not deter them from achieving great things (Cimbala and Randall, 1999).
Black people got the right to vote as they participated in the political system. They were able to form coalitions. Several African American men were elected as congressmen and senators mainly through the Republican Party in which most of the blacks were supporters. The effort to alter the race relations went as far as the United States constitution. Propelled by the republicans in the congress, the states endorsed “the fourteen and fifteenth amendments to the constitution” which were formulated to protect the “civil and voting” rights of the African Americans (Cimbala and Randall, 1999). People of African affiliation were deemed not to be citizens and, consequently, had no rights to be recognized by the whites. This was one of the rulings by the Supreme Court which was overturned by the amendments. The right to “equal protection” under the law was also reaffirmed (Cimbala and Randall, 1999).
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