The American civil war is also known as the modern war among others terms stands to be the central event in America's historical consciousness. The war took place in the United States of America between 1861 and 1865 after decades stewing tautness between the northern and southern states over slavery, state's rights, and obligations as well as the westward expansion. The foundations and groundwork of the contemporary United States we know today was laid not only during the American Civil War but immediately after as well as when the shattered nation was trying to realize and unite itself once again in what came to be termed as the reconstruction era. Therefore, in this context, the paper will focus on the Civil war reconstruction era in America paying close attention to its economic, social and political impacts to the United States. The paper will further examine the lingering effects of America's Civil War and the reconstruction era to the modern society.
Civil War and the Reconstruction, 1861-1877
United States of America's greatest crisis occurred during the 1861 Civil war in which the social, political and economic gaps of the northern and southern States had become less and less alike. The northern States had experienced tremendous improvements as far as the industrial and commercial development is concerned whereas the southern states had stagnated largely on agricultural. Additionally, the African-American slavery had made significant differences between the southern and the northern states where the predicament of slavery had separated southerners from the northerners.
According to (Kaczorowski et al. p. 48), some of the northerners aimed to minimize the spread of slavery and other aimed to completely abolish it while the southerners wanted to maintain and increase the predicament given the fact that they needed labor force in their agricultural plantations. As a matter of fact, slavery became the core reason for the political crisis in America. In 1860, presidential elections for the republican were held and Abraham Lincoln won the presidential victory. At the same time, 11 states from the south withdrew from the federal Union in 1861. These states sought to launch an independent Confederacy of states whose aim was to protect slavery. In response to the southerner's reactions, the northern unionists insisted and demanded that slavery should be abolished and that secession was unconstitutional hence it was not a legal position to take.
Therefore, were willing and ready to use military force to push southerners and force them to maintain in the Union. As a result, a costly, bloody civil war erupted claiming several lives of Americans. During this war, the number of Americans who were massacred was more than all other wars combined that were experienced in the America combined. Four years later, Union restoration took place through the military forces (Daniels et al. p.4). During this time, the war reconstruction began however, it was as difficult as fighting against the Civil War had been. Given the fact that the war was centered in the southern States, the war brought about significant effects to the social, political and economic life of the American which has extended to the modern USA. About twelve years after the American Civil War were packed with several consequences that darkened the future of the country. However, the reconstruction period immediately after the civil war facilitated a better pattern and good racial relations as well a defining the roles of Federal Government in the promotion of racial equality. Majority of the southern legislatures passed laws also termed as the black codes which limited the rights of the blacks and denied the light to buy or rent land in the efforts to force them to work in the white plantations. These laws forced the congressional Republicans to clutch control of the reconstruction from Andrew Johnson who was the president at that time.
These efforts further denied representatives from the Confederate states congressional leadership seats as well as passing legislation and civil rights acts of the 2866-1877. They also drafted the 14th legislative amendments which permitted the citizenship rights to Black Americans and further guaranteed the protection of the laws. The 15th amendment which took place in 1870 provided the blacks with a voting right. As a result, the former slaves (freemen), carpetbaggers and the Republicans gained temporary power in the previous confederate state apart from Virginia. The existing government during the reconstruction, therefore, made democratic constitutions and in addition to expanding the scope of rights to women rights and freedom; it founded the south's first state-sponsored school as well as providing the debt relief. Additionally, the white southern democrats also termed as the redeemers were allowed were allowed to resume power by the intern divisions within the southern Republican Party. The freemen and several subsistence farmers became trapped in the new economic exploitation systems termed as sharecropping during the reconstruction time.
The reconstruction period made significant effects on the social, political and economic aspects of the United stated of America. During this time, the reconstruction process took place in phases where there were two phases of reconstruction namely the president reconstruction which started with ending the Civil war in America and last between 1865-1866 and the congress reconstruction which remained in effect up to 1877. To start with, were three amendments that took place during the reconstruction period that made core impacts to the social, political and economic life of the American and has implication to the current United States we know? First, the 13th Amendment with managed to be passed a law in 1865 stated that slavery and involuntary servitude was unconstitutional. Therefore the law enabled all American workers to earn a living in form of wages and salaries hence contributed to the improved social and economic status of the Black American who formerly worked as slaves in plantations. The 14th amendment was ratified in 1868 and was a crucial part of this time.
According to (Collier and Paul p. 168), the amendment made every person born the United States a citizen of the country in his state by birth. Therefore, it could not allow the nation to pass laws that undermine or deny equality to the citizen. Through this amendment, the state-citizen was exposed to equal right and obligations to participate freely in social, political and economic activities. Aiming to provide all citizens with greater access to political power especially leadership, the Congress during the reconstruction period the 15th amendment in 1870 3 February was adopted, according to this amendment, it was unconstitutional for the country to citizen their right to vote and elect leaders of their choices under the racial basis, color and even the previous condition of servitude.
The 15th amendment made sound impacts towards the climax of the reconstruction period where every person had a right to vote for people they believed will bring social economic and political changes in their desire (Reynal-Querol and Marta p. 29). Some of this amendment and laws allowed people to fully participate in all aspects of life and laid a foundation for the changes we see in the United States today. However, the American civil war, on the other hand, contributed to the negative effects related to segregations based on the people of color as well as ethnic groups to as a social negative effect. The racial disparities we have today in the United States of America particularly the racial segregation against the black Americans have its origin in the 18th century when Black Africans (slaves) were used to provide labor in Agricultural plantations southerners.
In conclusion, the American Civil war is one of the central events in American history that caused tremendous effects to all aspects of life light from the political, social and economic aspects of the Americans. The war took place between the southerners and the northerners over slavery, state's rights and obligations as well as the westward expansion leading to the massive lives of people in both the southern and the northern part of the country in which the number of deaths witnessed surpassed a combination of all other wars in the American history. However, during the reconstruction period, several amendments were made to the law that guaranteed equal opportunities to all people of America a factor that contributed to the recovery of the shattered United State of America. Therefore, the foundation of the contemporary United American we know today was laid the long time ago during the Civil war crisis and the reconstruction period.
Collier, Paul. "On the economic consequences of civil war." Oxford economic papers 51.1 (1999): 168-183.
Daniels, Michele L., and Victoria A. Lewis. "Preface." Black LJ8 (1983): 1-4.
Kaczorowski, Robert J. "To Begin the Nation Anew: Congress, Citizenship, and Civil Rights after the Civil War." The American Historical Review 92.1 (1987): 45-68.
Reynal-Querol, Marta. "Ethnicity, political systems, and civil wars." Journal of Conflict Resolution 46.1 (2002): 29-54.
Stampp, Kenneth Milton. The era of reconstruction, 1865-1877. Vol. 388. Knopf, 1965.
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