America’s Post Civil War Growing Pains
The years 1865-1915 saw the end of the civil war and the beginning of the industrial revolution. This was a critical time in our nations history and had a huge effect on the country and the world that we have today. Two key events during this period were the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln and the westward expansion of the railroad system.
At the end of the Civil War, there were many questions left to answer. At the top of the list were the issues of what to do with the 4 million freed slaves and how to reincorporate the southern states that seceded and fought against Lincoln and the Union. Under President Lincoln and the republican lead Congress there were plans in place to deal with these issues. Though Lincoln and the Republicans disagreed on the exact details, they were working on a slow and detailed process for bringing southern states back into the Union. These plans involved outlawing slavery and declaring loyalty to the Union. Congress also created the Freedman’s Bureau whole role was to create schools, medical facilities and other social structures that would help the freed slaves gain equal opportunities as the country reunited itself.
When Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, his Vice President Andrew Johnson became President. Johnson did not share Lincoln’s vision for reconstruction. He was a Southern Democrat and sympathized with the South more than Lincoln or the Northern Republicans in office did. Under Johnson he path to rejoining the Union was much easier and the Southern states faced very little consequence for secession. Johnson gave Confederate leaders and wealthy southern landowners a chance at amnesty, which allowed them to retain their money and property. This meant that the land that was promised to the freed slaves through the Freedman’s Bureau would no longer be available. Johnson removed this plan from the Bureau’s charter.
With Johnson as President, Confederate leaders were able...