The Civil War

The Civil War began in early 1861 after South Carolina seceded from the Union and lasted until 1865.Reconstruction began as soon as the war ended but was a slow and strenuous process.The North was faced with the dilemma of whether or not to punish the South.They hesitated to punish the South because their goal was to reunite the Union and punishing the South would not lighten the situation.On the other hand, the North did not like the idea of no punishment to the South because so many men had died for the cause.The North relied on new constitutional and social developments to change the South and mold it into the image of the rest of the Union.New amendments to the Constitution clarified any previous misconceptions in the Constitution and created new social standings for the blacks.Between the years of 1860 and 1877, during which the Civil War and Reconstruction took place, constitutional and social developments concerning the welfare of African Americans and the image of the ideal society, where the South is more like the North, combined to create a change in the social structure of the nation.
The role of the African Americanfirst changed during the war when they began to fight for the Union forces.The Civil War was fought to help preserve the Union but one of its underlying goals was to abolish slavery.During Reconstruction, northerners fought for black equality and began pushing for social reforms.Thefirst of these reforms was the 14th Amendment.This offered thefirst constitutional definition of American citizenship.All citizens were entitled to equal protection under all laws.After the South agreed to abide by this, the North came up with something else.The 15th Amendment forbade the federal government to deny suffrage to any citizen, regardless of race, color, or if they were a slave.The northerners quickly realized that they really did not want universal suffrage and some restrictions were …

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