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THE RECONSTRUCTION ERA AND THE BLACKS The twelve-year era after the Civil War was called the Reconstruction Period Reconstruction was a federal policy established immediately after the South surrendered it was an attempt to create a new Southern society and heal the terrible wounds between the North and South The three main goals of the Reconstruction were to protect the rights of the freed slaves rebuild the Souths devastated economy and enforce the loyalty of the ex-confederates Scholastic 14 In spite of tremendous efforts the Reconstruction Period failed to completely accomplish any of the three goals but it was especially lacking in its attempts to make Blacks and whites equal and was a time of intense discrimination toward the Blacks In 1865 at the end of the Civil War the South was destroyed Plantations were demolished the economy was ruined the labor system was shattered and several million slaves were now free laborers South Carolina looked like a broad black streak of ruin and desolation Unger 414 In the Shenandoah Valley hardly any farm animals were left alive Many cities had almost nothing left of their business districts Unger 414 People in both the North and South were angry The North was upset at the losses suffered in putting down an illegal insurrection and the South was angry at not being able to break away from what they felt was the oppressive government in Washington Baldwin and Kelley 206 Some of the more serious problems from the white viewpoint were the social difficulties created by emancipation Where did the Blacks fit in Most Southerners certainly did not want them as neighbors or social acquaintances Southerners felt strongly about their prejudices and were unwilling to make the changes in their society or value system to raise the social standing of the Blacks Although the Southerners reluctantly accepted the end of slavery they seemed determined to find some
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