Impact of Culture During Reconstruction Essay

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The impact of culture in the United States during Reconstruction was evident, especially in the southern states. Every aspect of life was shaped by the culture that had come about through slavery nearly 100 years before. Economics, politics, religion, and social life varied in the North and South because of the diverse way of life, even after the Civil War. These different aspects affected Reconstruction and ultimately determined the success of it. Before Reconstruction, slavery was the focal point of culture in the South. Slavery allowed the economy to thrive and social classes to be widespread. Also, a bitter hatred sparked by racism and feelings of superiority over the African Americans caused years of turmoil and injustice. After defeat in the Civil War, many Southerners’ hatred rose to a new level. Government’s efforts to prevent racist dissent proved futile: the government, itself, promoted segregation in public areas. Even with abolitionists’ efforts, this prejudice mindset lasted for decades to come. The first piece of evidence was the literacy tests citizens were required to take in order to vote in some southern states. During Reconstruction, all men, besides Native Americans, were granted the right to vote. Although, states determined suffrage. The state of Alabama gave whites answers to the literacy tests, while blacks’ tests were left blank. With little education in terms of reading and writing, it was difficult to answer simple questions, let alone questions about civic affairs. In my opinion, there is pride associated with a citizen’s right to vote. This inequality went against the Fifteenth Amendment and set back the development of Reconstruction in the South. In the South, slave codes physically separated blacks and whites. The laws inhibited whites and blacks from interacting with each other and many laws limited their rights as citizens.

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