Essay about Reconstruction After the Civil War

942 Words Dec 22nd, 2005 4 Pages
The period of Reconstruction began during the Civil War and ended in 1877. This era is known for the advancements made in favor of racial equality. These improvements included the fourteenth amendment (citizenship and equal protection under the law to blacks) and the fifteenth amendment (voting rights for blacks) of the Constitution. Yet, with the end of Reconstruction in 1877, the Republican Party lost control of the southern governments and the Democratic Party took over. This shift in power was supposed to mark the beginning of the "New South" in which the virtues of thrift, industry, and progress would become the model characteristics of the South. However, the changes in the South from 1877-1900 reflected traditional attitudes and …show more content…
The steps toward racial equality that African Americans had received in the 14th and 15th amendments were removed of all their importance after the Supreme Court made a couple rulings on the two amendments. The Supreme Court ruled that the 14th amendment only forbid state governments from discrimination and not private organizations and individuals. Thus, separate seating sections for each race in railroad cars were made legal by the court case Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) and segregated schools were allowed by the court case Cumming v. County Board of Education (1899). On the 15th amendment, the Supreme Court allowed the use of a poll tax and a literacy test, the two of which combined to allow few African Americans to vote; by 1900, the black vote had lowered by 62%. Jim Crow laws, laws that segregated blacks from whites and allowed for white supremacy, were quite common in every part of Southern society. Many lynchings also occurred in the South (80% of the total lynchings in the nation) in order to intimidate and frighten blacks into having no choice but permit for white supremacy. The South's traditional attitude of racial inequality was once again appearing and becoming a huge part of Southern life.
Despite the call for a New South in which the southern society would become more like northern life, traditional attitudes and policies were becoming more prevalent in changes in

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