HIST 222 AMU week 1 lesson African Americans After the Civil War American Military University
After the Civil War, opposing forces struggled over what direction the reunited country would take. Former slaves sought to establish new lives, and were aided by three constitutional amendments as well as other laws. However, violence towards blacks and Republicans in the South made this difficult, and the Compromise of 1877 ended the period of Reconstruction.
Topics covered will include:
- New Rights and New Challenges
- The Freedmen’s Bureau
- Reconstruction Under Johnson
- Radical Republicans Take Control
- The Fourteenth Amendment
- African Americans Participate in Politics
- Republican Discord and Southern Opposition
- The Fifteenth Amendment and the End of Reconstruction
New Rights and New Challenges
In the immediate aftermath of the Civil War, newly elected black politicians succeeded in securing basic rights and laying a foundation for education for African Americans. However, the plans to distribute land and provide viable economic opportunities that would create this foundation largely failed.
After spending their lives as the legal property of others, former slaves found freedom difficult to grasp, and their reactions to it greatly differed. Some felt pent-up anger against their former masters, while other felt guilty for the hardship they would experience in their absence. But no matter how they felt about those whose ownership they had been released from, most slaves had good reason to feel apprehensive about the unknowns that awaited them as free people.
The Freedmen’s Bureau
Had Field Order No. 15 not been rescinded, the task of redistributing the land would have been given to the Freedmen’s Bureau, an organization created in 1865 to help manage the economic and social transition to freedom for black Southerners. Intended to be only a temporary organization, the Bureau’s full name was “Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands,” and it was charged with not only assisting in the management of the former slaves’ transition from slavery to freedom but also the task of dealing with the property that was left behind by Southern
landowners fleeing the Union troops.
HOWARD HEADS FREEDMEN’S BUREAU
SOUTHERN HOMESTEAD ACT IN 1866
DISCRIMINATION IN SHARECROPPING
Reconstruction Under Johnson
After the Civil War’s end, the newly inaugurated president Andrew Johnson was eager to reunite the Union. And unlike many Union politicians, he favored reconciliation with former Confederates and terms for readmission
that were relatively lenient. President Johnson’s plan for Reconstruction involved granting amnesty to all Southerners owning less than $20,000 in property; those who owned more could easily obtain amnesty through a petition. In order to be readmitted to the Union, each state had to repudiate its war debts, disavow its claims of secession, and ratify the Thirteenth Amendment.