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In the Spring of 1865 the Civil war was finally brought to an end The five years of war was the nations most devastating and wrenching experience Although the Union was saved and slavery had ended the South being defeated and occupied by union forces was ruined and in a state of disaster Public structures private homes and farm buildings had been burnt rail road tracks uprooted cotton gins wrecked and the earth scorched in many sections of the defeated land The nations next task was to rebuild the ruined South and the governments plan to do this is known as Reconstruction During this period was the Civil Rights Act the Fourteenth Amendment the Black codes and other important incidents Reconstruction took place during the years 1865-1877 and was effective in reaching its goal which was to improve the South socially politically and economically On Lincolns death Vice President Andrew Johnson became President and held that Reconstruction was the job of the President not Congresspicture Unlike Lincoln who knew how to Compromise Johnson was a stubborn man His policies were based on what he thought was Lincolns goals They included charity toward the former Confederates and the creation of new government states These governments Johnson said must forbid slavery They must also accept the supreme power of the federal government With Johnsons strong thoughts and views Reconstruction started immediately Congress was not in session when Johnson took over as President and did not meet until December which effected the South economically During these eight months nothing was progressing For example nothing was done about the black voting rights Some states also refused to ratify the Thirteenth Amendment which abolished slavery Southern states started to pass laws limiting the freedom of African Americans These laws called black codes aimed to return former slaves to plantation labor In Mississippi one law said that each person had to have a written proof of employment
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