Reconstruction Era   Leave a comment

Reconstruction Era

The Civil War, in the words of President Abraham Lincoln, brought to America “a new birth of freedom”. And, during the war began the nation’s efforts to come to terms with the destruction of slavery, war and to define the meaning of freedom.

At the end of the war, it was clear that Reconstruction would bring far reaching changes in Southern society, and a redefinition of the place of blacks in american life.

The Civil War did not begin as a total war, but it soon became one, a struggle that pitted society against society. Never before had mass armies confronted each other on the battlefield with the deadly weaons created by the industrial revolution.

The resulting casualties dwarfed anything in the American experience. Some 650,000 men died in the war, including 260,000 Confederates, over one-fifth of the South’s adult white male population.

At the war’s outset, the Lincoln administration insisted that restoring the Union was its only purpose. But as slaves by the thousands abandoned the plantations and headed for the Union lines, and military victory eluded the North, the President made the destruction of slavery a war aim. A decision announced in the Emancipation Proclamation of January 1863.

The Proclamation also authorized the enlistment of black soldiers. By the end of the Civil War, some 200,000 black soldiers had served in the Union army and navy, staking a claim to citizenship in the postwar nation.

During the war, “rehearsals for Reconstruction” took place in the union-occupied south.


Posted February 23, 2012 by pennylibertygbow in Slavery

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