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Role of the Federal Government During Reconstruction

Autor:   •  March 6, 2013  •  Essay  •  592 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,245 Views

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Due to differing environmental factors between the North and the South, sectionalism has always existed to an extent. The South, with an environment that was more apt for agriculture, came to thrive off the export of cash crops, while the North made more of an effort to industrialize. This ultimately led to the Civil War, which was sparked largely due to differing viewpoints on slavery. After the Civil War, which ultimately led to the abolishment of slavery, through the thirteenth amendment, attempts made by the federal to improve race relations were met with great backlash in the South and attempts to thwart the improvement of black rights were made through laws adopted at the state level. In addition, with slavery no longer barring westward expansion, movement toward the west was now greatly encouraged through the removal of Native Americans and the introduction of the transcontinental railroad.

The Civil War was originally fought with the sole intention of preserving the union, however with Lincoln's issuing of the emancipation proclamation, the war took up a new view. It became a war of abolition. Because of this, African American freedom and rights became a concern in the post-Civil War climate. After the Civil War, the federal government took up the responsibility of freeing the slaves and attempting to improve their socioeconomic status. This was done through the 13, 14, and 15th amendments. The thirteenth granted the slaves their freedom, the fourteenth gave freedmen citizenship if they were born in the US, and the 15th gave them the right to vote. A largely radical Republican majority in congress allowed for the ratification of the latter two. The ratification of these amendments granted the federal government more power than they had possessed prior to the Civil War, when race relations were left largely in the hands of the states. The military occupation of the South, intended to suppress violence between races was another way that the federal


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