Describe the political, economic, and social changes that occurred during Reconstruction. 

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Reconstruction was a dynamic period in American history. Politically, Republicans made massive gains as people associated the Democratic party with secession, though many urban areas, such as New York, remained Democratic. Union army veterans became a reliable voting bloc for the Republican Party, and they pressured Congress for pensions for...

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Reconstruction was a dynamic period in American history. Politically, Republicans made massive gains as people associated the Democratic party with secession, though many urban areas, such as New York, remained Democratic. Union army veterans became a reliable voting bloc for the Republican Party, and they pressured Congress for pensions for their service. African American males won the right to vote in 1870, with the Fifteenth Amendment, though they were kept away from the polls in the South by the Ku Klux Klan and other terrorist groups. Despite efforts to keep them away, black men in many Southern locations still voted for their pre-war leaders, with Alexander Stevens of Georgia being a prime example of a former Confederate who was able to return to Congress after the war.

Economically, many former slaves moved north in order to find jobs. The West also enjoyed an emigration boom as railroad construction increased, making it easier for people to move west for homesteading, mining, or ranching. Many of the landowners in the South turned to using sharecroppers in order to fill their labor needs. This kept poor whites and blacks alike in generational poverty through World War II, as many families often ended the harvest season in debt. Though Reconstruction put the nation back together, the South's infrastructure would remain damaged for decades to come.

Socially, African Americans supported schools that were opened by missionary groups from the North. The end of slavery meant that African Americans now filled a different social role in the South. Even though they were granted citizenship and suffrage in 1868 and 1870, respectively, racism still existed, and segregation would become the norm in the South well before Plessy v. Ferguson made it legal in 1896. African American churches also became important in the South. Many former slaves traveled for the first time in order to learn about the world outside their plantations. Southerners had to come to grips with how to remember the war. The war left millions of widows and orphans for both the Union and Confederate armies, and states and other charitable organizations sought to fill the economic needs of these groups.

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In answering the question, I will address Reconstruction from the point of the attempted reformation of the Southern States after the Civil War. After the Civil War, Congress instituted certain measures aimed at addressing the issues that caused the war. The most important issue was to make changes to the South’s economy and change it from a slavery dependent economy to states that recognized the former slaves as free men. The change was further supported by the amendments made to the Constitution that recognized these rights.

The economy in the South, which was driven largely by agriculture, suffered damaging effects. Firstly, the plantations were damaged during the War and second, the landowners opted for sharecropping with the former slaves. Sharecropping impoverished the freedmen and also reduced the output previously enjoyed by former slave masters.

Socially, Reconstruction hoped to achieve integration between the people in the North and those in the South. The process also was aimed at protecting the status of the freedmen and have their status recognized by their former masters. However, conflict continued between the different groups. The Southerners perceived the Northerners to be taking advantage of the effects of the war. Additionally, the Southerners remained apprehensive about the new status of the former slaves. In reaction, they cut back the positive progress made by introducing Black Codes and entrapping former slaves into free labour.

In the political sphere, Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Jackson were more moderate in their proposals to deal with the South. However, Radical Republicans in Congress pushed for aggressive punishment for the South. Violence in the South due to the antislavery push only served to strengthen the Republicans who passed the 14th Amendment after taking complete control of Congress. However, uncontrolled infighting among the Republicans created an opportunity for the Democrats to gain prominence and take over control of the House of Representatives in 1874, leading to an end of the Reconstruction period.

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Reconstruction brought about many changes in our country. These included political, social, and economic changes. The political changes were significant. The Radical Republicans were in charge of Reconstruction. As part of their actions and as part of the events during Reconstruction, there were three constitutional amendments made. The 13th amendment ended slavery. The 14th amendment said that anybody born in the United States would be a citizen of the United States. These people would have the rights that citizens had, and these rights couldn’t be taken away without the due process of law. The 15th amendment prevented denying a person the right to vote based on race, color, or having been a slave.

There were social changes that also occurred. Reconstruction gave freedom to the former slaves. The former slaves now were considered to be equal to whites, at least in theory. Many southerners had a difficult time accepting the idea of racial equality. Schools were also set up for African-Americans.

There were also economic changes as a result of Reconstruction. Prior to the Civil War, the South was mainly an agricultural area. Most people farmed. After the Civil War ended, the South began to diversify its economy. While farming was still important, new industries were developed. Also, the railroads expanded into the South. The South was no longer a region that was only dependent on farming.

Reconstruction brought about many changes in our country.

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