The South

The Origins, Perspectives and Conseqeunces of Reconstruction Laws
The period following the American Civil War was plagued with racial violence, political and social turmoil as well as a great sense of divisiveness.The period of Congressional Reconstruction was an immensely significant chapter in the legal history of the south and the United States as a whole.In less than a decade the entire perception of the American system of government took an enormous shift towards that of federalism.These laws took the form in the period of Reconstruction of all three theoretical forms of legal evolution, Law and Custom, Structuralist and Conflict.An examination of all three perspectives
The Law and Custom Theory states that law originates from the custom of society and customary practice.However the Enforcement Act as well as the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution prohibited an ingrained custom in Southern antebellum society, which was slavery.If we were to make the argument that law is a product of social custom why did so many reconstruction laws renounce a southern custom?It was in fact custom in the South for all blacks to remain subordinate to whites.In fact all over the country, prior, during and following the Civil War blacks were held in a very inferior social caste in the American social structure.It was post-Civil War Reconstruction legislation that attempted to change this, against the will of a large portion of the American populous.
Law and Custom Theory also implies that to a certain extent law reflects popular will, the will of society and culture.However in response to Congressional Reconstruction laws, protests, many violent occurred all across the South and even some instances in the North.The laws and Constitutional Amendments that lead to the Reese and Cruikshank cases were not derived from custom; they were designed, written and enforced for the purpose of abolishin…


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