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the Civil War, much of the southern states were destroyed.  The southern economy would be in ruins due to
inflation, and the farms and plantations that the South’s economy was so heavily reliant on prior to the war was
burned down and decimated.  The south
would need to be rebuilt.  This period is
known as Reconstruction, and the main goal was to rebuild the union; make the
southern states rejoin the union; and improve the economy.  During this period, federal troops would be
located there to make sure the new laws and policies were being followed.  Reconstruction policies weren’t too effective
in maintaining continuity, as these policies would have an immense effect that
changed the way the south would be when compared to the antebellum period.  The black codes tried to maintain continuity,
but ultimately the Civil Rights Act would ensure that didn’t happen.  However, Reconstruction policies would have a
drastic change in the economic, social, and political institutions as Reconstruction
policies would help blacks gain freedoms and civil rights, and also improve the
economy of the country.

            Southern states passed laws known as
Black Codes, which tried to maintain continuity.  The Black Codes prevented blacks from voting,
from getting an education, from owning land, and from getting jobs.  This tried to return to the status quo of
whites having control of slaves which was present prior to the Civil War
(whites didn’t want to accept that freed slaves were now citizens).  However, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act
of 1866, which stopped the Black Codes and ensure equal rights for the
freedmen.  This was a Reconstruction
policy that ensured that freed slaves would have civil rights and that freedmen
would be a citizen.  To enforce this act,
the federal government sent troops to the south to make sure this law was being

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            After the Civil War, the South’s
economy was in ruins, and the countryside
was desolated and ruined.  At the same
time, the entire country was completely separated after the war.  In order to bring the country back together,
President Lincoln issued a plan that as long as 10% of voters in a southern
state supported the union, then it could rejoin the union.  As a result, Reconstruction policies brought
the country back together into a single nation. 
Also, Reconstruction policies helped the war-torn south.  The Union would rebuild farms, and built schools.  This would be a part of the recovery of the
south’s economy.

            After the Civil War, freed slaves had no money or education, which
made it challenging for them to pursue “life, liberty, and happiness”.  As a result, President Lincoln created the
Freedmen’s Bureau.  This would provide
freed slaves with food, as well as schools for the freed slaves and their
kids.  Freed slaves would also need jobs
to support their families, and so the Freedmen’s Bureau would help freed slaves
into finding jobs, which would increase employment, thus improving the overall economy. 

            Prior to the Civil War, blacks had
no representation or voice in the government. 
They weren’t allowed to vote in elections, and as the Dred Scott case
showed, they also weren’t considered citizens of the country.  However, because of Reconstruction after the
Civil War, there would be new amendments
to the Constitution.  The 13th
amendment, of course, outlawed
slavery.  The 14th amendment
gave blacks civil rights and declared them citizens of the country.  The 15th amendment gave blacks the
right to vote.  This would be a huge
change from the Dred Scott ruling, where slaves
were views as property, not people, and shows just how greatly Reconstruction policies changed the social
lives of blacks.  Of course, this brought
oppositions from whites.  One example is the Ku Klux Klan, who used
violence to prevent blacks from voting. 
Nonetheless, these Reconstruction policies would change the political
atmosphere of America as southern blacks would win elections for seats in Congress
and local governments. 

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