During the Reconstruction Era, there
were many notable gains that the African Americans did achieve. Many of these
gains were the abolishment of slavery, the Freedmans Bureau that helped ease
the transition to freedom, equal protection under state and federal laws, and
granting black men the right to vote. Throughout this process there were many
struggles of getting all of the gains listed above. Though there were many individuals
that played major roles in this process, some of the main ones would be the
Radial Republicans, Abraham Lincoln, and the people of the Freedmans Bureau.
Shortly after the Civil War ended,
President Lincoln wanted to reach the goal of the whole reason behind the war,
the reunification of the country. Abraham Lincoln was the one who saw the publication
of the Thirteenth amendment, but he did not get to see the ratification of it.
In December of 1865 the Thirteenth amendment was ratified, which officially
banned the institution of slavery. Congress then created the Freedmans Bureau
that helped ease the transition from being a slave to freedom. The Freemans
Bureau helped freed people gain labor contracts, reunite with families, and
helped freed people get the proper education.
After the passing of the Thirteenth
amendment, there were several southerners that were not happy with the outcome.
These southerners created what was known as the black codes, which had the
goals of keeping blacks impoverished and in debt, so they could not move on to
have a free life. The black codes were a way for the southern states to
maintain the white supremacy for as long as they could. For the Radical
Republicans to get ahold of this violence, they drafted the Fourteenth
amendment. The Fourteenth amendment, gave citizens equal protection under state
and federal laws which eliminated that a black person was three fifths of a white
person. Although the Fourteenth amendment established protection within the state
and federal laws there were still some weaknesses within the amendment.