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Equality, Unity and the Reconstruction Period

            Following the presidential election of Abraham Lincoln, the southern states felt the need to secede from the union. This action would wage in a bloody four year war that would end with the surrender of General Robert E. Lee in the Appomattox Courthouse in Virginia. At the close of the American Civil war, the United States was left to face the problem of re-admitting the southern states into the union. Within the years 1865 and 1877 this issue would be contemplated through various forms of reconstruction. This process of reconstruction would allow unity to America and would define the status of newly freed men. Although reconstruction did have prosperity it ultimately was a failure to African Americans. This nonfulfillment can best be depicted through the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments.
             The first amendment passed towards African Americans was the thirteenth amendment. This amendment would ensure freedom of blacks by ending the institution of slavery. Although sounding very promising this amendment would not uphold completely. Following the civil war freed men were without money and farmers were without workers, this issue would result in the uprising of the sharecropping and crop-lien systems. Through these systems landowners allowed blacks a portion of land to harvest on and in return they would give a fraction of their product. With high interest rates, immoral landlords, and unpredictable harvests dweller families were kept in severe debt. The outcome of this order would be a new form of slavery, no longer based on color but on debt.
             The fourteenth amendment was passed in 1868 and was the second reconstruction amendment to be passed, this amendment granted citizenship to former slaves. This amendment was not taken pleasantly in the southern states. To ensure blacks would stay inferior, whites adopted the Jim Crow laws. The original theory was "separate but equal" but in practice black citizens were condemned to below par facilities and treatment.

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