The Demoralizing Reality of the Recpnstruction Era

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The promise of freedom to all “slaves” came with the end of the Civil War. The 13th amendment, ratified on December 6, 1885 officially freed any remaining slaves. Then, the 14th amendment was ratified in the summer of 1968; it stated that “all persons born or naturalized in the United States” would be given citizenship. The 15th amendment followed and gave all men, but not women, the right to vote regardless of race. It appeared as if all freed men and women would soon be as fortunate as any white person. Unfortunately, this was an illusion. While Congress could ratify amendments, the states retained a massive amount of power and utilized this to reissue the Slave Codes as Black Codes. While all of the southern states passed Black Codes,…show more content…
The newly freed men became scapegoats for the defeat of the South. The former slaves were a reminder of how much everything had changed after the war. Instead of working in the fields under white masters, they now competed for jobs with poor white farmers. The way that white southerners distinguished themselves from the freedmen was by the terrorism of the Klu Klux Klan (KKK). By joining the KKK a white southerner could take action backed by a large organization without fear of repercussions. At anytime the KKK could come to your door and hassle, berate, or even hang you simply because you were now free and had committed some tiny infraction. The testimony of Harriet Postle is a prime example that no freed person was safe. Her family committed no crime yet the KKK still burst down their door, and severely beat Mrs. Postle. The fact that she was around eight months pregnant didn’t deter the KKK from abusing her. Harriet Postle stated in her testimony that the KKK, “beat my head against the side of the house till I had no sense hardly left.” Now the freedmen lived in their own homes without a master, but any Klansman could come in and do what they pleased. Before the Civil War black men and women had no fear of the Klan because they didn’t exist. Now the newly freed person had the Klan breathing down their back along with the inability to assemble or go where they pleased. If a freedman was lucky enough to find a job and receive a meager wage for

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