Discuss three major changes in race relations (i.e., laws, amendments, labor arrangements, working conditions, migration patterns, socioeconomic changes) that resulted from Reconstruction.

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Reconstruction was implemented by Congress from 1866 to 1877 with the fundamental goal of reorganizing Southern societies in ways that supported the peaceful coexistence of white and Black people, particularly in areas that had previously supported and defended slavery. Reconstruction created numerous changes in race relations, in the South and...

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Reconstruction was implemented by Congress from 1866 to 1877 with the fundamental goal of reorganizing Southern societies in ways that supported the peaceful coexistence of white and Black people, particularly in areas that had previously supported and defended slavery. Reconstruction created numerous changes in race relations, in the South and elsewhere.

Not surprisingly, many Black people began to leave the South during this period. While the Southeast retained a sizeable Black population, a growing number began to migrate to cities in the Northeast, such as Philadelphia, New York City, and Chicago, while others decided to head West to areas such as New Mexico, Arizona, and Oklahoma.

In the South, the United States offered a military presence to help ensure that the rights of Black people were protected; this was necessary because a growing number of white people, particularly in the South, turned to violence that targeted Black people and those who supported them. Additionally, many former slaves who were now able to travel began moving around the South in search of family members they had been separated from while enslaved.

In 1870, the Fifteenth Amendment was added to the United States Constitution, granting all male citizens the right to vote. Unfortunately, this law overlooked the voting rights of females (of any race), and many states were able to find legal means of preventing Black people from voting despite the Fifteenth Amendment. Most notably, some states required literacy tests and poll taxes, which eliminated large numbers of the recently freed population. Still, there was progress. Hiram Revels became the first African American elected to the US Senate during this period, and Blanche K. Bruce, a former slave, was elected to the Senate soon thereafter.

There was also a notable shift in the workforce when slavery ended. Planters who had relied on slaves for the maintenance of their crops often found that they could not maintain their prewar lifestyle. Smaller farms were sometimes poverty stricken by this change; freed slaves demanded that they be offered fair wages, which smaller farmers could not afford.

Because of this conflict, sharecropping emerged, particularly on cotton and tobacco farms; farmers shifted away from growing food for their own families in order to begin harvesting cash crops to help pay their employees. This created a "credit" system of payment for both Black and white farmers, which eroded much initial hope of financial independence.

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