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After the end of the second civil war, America was faced with a daunting task of uniting the nation and especially rebuilding the south. Reconstruction was a period from 1865 – 1877 as the government tried to put the country together after the war. African-American took advantage of opportunities for education and political involvement but the gains were bitterly resented in the south. This essay will explore economic and social conditions blacks faced during the reconstruction period

Social and economic

After the civil war, the south was economically devastated and socially revolutionalized by emancipation. The Republicans tried to build their party in the south to guarantee black rights. But the reconstruction aims were often limited due to divisions between moderate and radical Republicans; this was even after passage of 14th and 15th amendments. Terrorist organizations like the Ku Klux Klan and bitter whites hated the radical governments’ proposal and acted bitterly to restore white supremacy. These groups exhibited racism and they even beat black voter who had been granted the right to vote. The KKK used violence on blacks to bar them from voting. Blacks were also obliged to sign year long contracts and whipping was still permitted (Hazen, W. 2004).  

Reconstruction also failed to help blacks economically. They continued to be poor farm workers who worked for rich landowners as they did not get the "40 acres and a mule" they had hoped for.  This was like during slavery times. The blacks had no education and thus they could not secure any good jobs as they were extremely limited. They had farming skills, that of doing manual labor and not running a farm. They had no money and clothing themselves was hard. They thus remained in plantations and worked as sharecroppers.


The main point during reconstruction was to help African-American become equal citizens. However this was met with resistance by such groups like white terrorists and the KKK in the south. Laws that were meant to protect the rights of blacks who were former slaves were not abided by the southerners. The blacks thus remained poor and continued to work in plantations owned by rich whites.

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