Learning Lincoln On-line

FROM-- SET EIGHT, CIVIL WAR STUDIES

Topic Fifty-two: Lincoln's Post-Civil War Reconstruction Plans

 

Also goes with Lincoln's War Politics #7

 

 

SLAVERY, FREEDOM, CONDITION AFTER SLAVERY

 

An Article

 

       Slavery effectively ended in the U.S. in the spring of 1865 when the Confederate armies surrendered. All slaves in the Confederacy were freed by the Emancipation Proclamation, which stipulated that slaves in Confederate-held areas were free. Slaves in the border states and Union-controlled parts of the South were freed by state action or (on December 6, 1865) by the Thirteenth Amendment. The full restoration of the Union was the work of a highly contentious postwar era known as Reconstruction. The war produced about 1,030,000 casualties (3% of the population), including about 620,000 soldier deaths—two-thirds by disease. The war accounted for roughly as many American deaths as all American deaths in other U.S. wars combined.

        The causes of the war, the reasons for its outcome, and even the name of the war itself are subjects of lingering contention today. About 4 million black slaves were freed in 1861–65. Based on 1860 census figures, 8% of all white males aged 13 to 43 died in the war, including 6% in the North and an extraordinary 18% in the South.  About 56,000 soldiers died in prisons during the Civil War.

 

Reconstruction
 

         Northern leaders agreed that victory would require more than the end of fighting. It had to encompass the two war goals: secession had to be repudiated and all forms of slavery had to be eliminated. They disagreed sharply on the criteria for these goals. They also disagreed on the degree of federal control that should be imposed on the South, and the process by which Southern states should be reintegrated into the Union.
         Reconstruction, which began early in the war and ended in 1877, involved a complex and rapidly changing series of federal and state policies. The long-term result came in the three Reconstruction Amendments to the Constitution: the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery; the Fourteenth Amendment, which extended federal legal protections equally to citizens regardless of race; and the Fifteenth Amendment, which abolished racial restrictions on voting. Reconstruction ended in the different states at different times, the last three by the Compromise of 1877.

 
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