How did the South after Reconstruction compare to the South before the Civil War? 

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mkoren | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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There were some changes in the South as a result of Reconstruction. Before the Civil War, the South was primarily an agricultural region with lots of slavery. There were few industries in the South. Many African-Americans were slaves and had no freedoms.

Once Reconstruction ended, some things changed. The South began to diversify its economy. More industries developed. Farming was still important, but new industries formed in the region. Slavery had ended, and African-Americans, in theory, had more freedom.

However, some things were similar in the South after Reconstruction ended. White attitudes towards African-Americans didn’t change much. Many whites still wanted to deny African-Americans their rights. Laws and policies were developed after Reconstruction ended to accomplish this. Poll taxes, literacy tests, and grandfather clauses were examples of attempts to keep African-Americans from voting. Jim Crow laws were passed to keep the races apart. Many of the gains made during Reconstruction were reversed after Reconstruction ended. The southern way of life also continued. The South still remained a rural area with a relaxed way of living.

While there were some differences, in some ways, the South wasn't all that different from the days before the Civil War began compared to the days after Reconstruction ended.

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