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Chapter 16 The Union Reconstructed. The American People , 6 th ed. The Bittersweet Aftermath of War. The United States in 1865. At the end of the war, Lincoln’s official position was that the South had never left the Union

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Chapter 16 the union reconstructed l.jpg

Chapter 16The Union Reconstructed

The American People, 6th ed.


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The Bittersweet Aftermath of War


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The United States in 1865

  • At the end of the war, Lincoln’s official position was that the South had never left the Union

  • Lincoln’s opponents argued that by declaring war, the Confederacy had broken their Constitutional ties and reverted to a territory status

  • The North was stronger than ever, the South lay in ruins


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Hopes Among the Freedpeople

  • Blacks tested their new freedom gradually

  • Most freed slaves made education a priority

  • Many left their plantations in search of a family member who had been sold

  • The primary goal for these freedpeople was to secure jobs and land; they expected a new economic order and some compensation for their years in slavery


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The White South’s Fearful Response

  • The dominant emotion in the Southern post-war white community was fear of newly freed slaves; of rape and revenge

  • Almost all societal norms in the South had been reversed as a result of losing the war

  • Southern legislatures passed “Black Codes” the first year after the war to secure white dominance



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The Thirteenth Amendment

  • Abolished slavery and ratification was the first requirement for Southern states to rejoin the Union

  • Renouncing succession, acknowledging Confederate debts, and electing new state officials and members of Congress were other requirements.


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The Fourteenth Amendment

  • Promised perpetual protection of the civil rights of black Americans by legally defining them as citizens

  • Granted suffrage to black males in the South

  • Denounced by President Johnson


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Acts of Reconstruction

  • The southern states were divided into military districts for federal administration

  • Congress redefined the qualifications for readmission as a state: blacks must be included in selecting representation to create new state constitutions

  • The Tenure of Office Act restricted presidential appointment powers in light of Johnson’s aggressive racism and determination to foil any reconstruction process; he became the first president to be impeached


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The Lives of Freedpeople


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The Freedmen’s Bureau

  • Officially called the Bureau of Freedmen, Refugees and Abandoned Lands

  • Issued emergency food rations, clothes and shelter for the homeless victims of the war

  • Tasked with an extensive education program for the freed slaves

  • Served as an early employment agency for African Americans


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Economic Freedom

  • The failure of Congress to provide 40 acres and a mule for the freedmen resulted in a new economic dependency on their former masters

  • Land ownership consolidated into huge holdings and concentrated on one cash crop, usually cotton

  • African American signed work contracts with white landowners to toil under the lash as if slavery still existed


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