The reasons for the discontent of the Southern states can be found in the historic documents. Among the latter, South Carolina Declaration of Causes of Secession signed on December 24, 1860 must be mentioned. The Declaration stated that the Constitution of the United States restricted the power of the certain states.
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As a result of the secession, the Confederate States of America was established. They included thirteen Southern states except of Maryland and Denver. The period was characterized by the changes in the US government. Abraham Lincoln became the President of the United States. He proclaimed in his speech that the North would not send the troops to subjugate the separated states. However, he said that they would remain responsible for fulfilling their federal tax obligations.
February 10, 1863, Senator John Sherman known as R-Ohio delivered an impressive speech on the new banking and currency systems, in which he stated that the necessity of the nationalization of the country had arisen. On February 26, the same year, the National Banking Act was signed (“National Banking Act” n.pag.). It was one of the most important changes in the US. The National Banking System was established to provide money for the federal government.
The demands for the constitutional changes were stated in the petitions of the former slaves including the Petition from American citizens of African descent to the Union convention of Tennessee assembled in the capitol at Nashville on January 9, 1865. The document was explained by the Constitutional Convention of Tennessee for abolishing the slavery (“American Civil War 1865” n.pag.).
On May 9, 1865, Gideon Wells, Lincoln’s Secretary of the Navy, expressed his opinion on the steps undertaken by the US government in relation to the separated states. He supported the constitutional means of the struggle against the slavery. The liberation of the slaves contributed to the reformation of the American economy and legislation. The period after the Civil War was known as the Reconstruction Era, the time of the substantial reformation of the Southern states and their modernization.
After the long period of slavery, the Declaration of the Civil Rights Act of 1866 was the breakthrough in the development of the country. Senator Lot Morrill put a strong emphasis on the revolutionary aspect of the Constitutional changes in the US in his speech on February 1, 1866: “The Civil Rights Act of 1866 granted citizenship and the same rights enjoyed by white citizens to all male persons in the United States” (“The 1866 Civil Rights Act” n.pag.).
The government’s amendments to legislation provided the further progress in the legal defeat of the former slaves. The following year, the black population was granted the right to vote according to the 15th Amendment (“Primary Documents in American History” n.pag.).
Although it had not been fully realized for decades after its signing, it represented the significant step of the Federal government towards the rehabilitation of the Southern states and the formation of the democracy. A. R. Waud was the first black American, who voted in the elections on November 16, 1867.
However, the end of the Civil War and the social breakthrough in the South did not extirpate the racism and the acts of violence towards the black population. It was the time of the activity of the Ku Klux Klan persecuting the former slaves (“Ku Klux Klan Act 1871” n.pag.). The government took the steps to stop the violence against the blacks. The Ku Klux Klan Act was signed in 1867 in order to eradicate the Klan (“Ku Klux Klan Act 1871” n.pag.).
The cartoon that appeared in Harper’s Weekly on October 24, 1874 and was drawn by Thomas Nast also stirred the U.S. society. The image depicted the scene when the members of the Ku Klux Klan raised the skull above the heads of the black couple. The inscription stated: ‘Worse than Slavery’. The activity of the Ku Klux Klan was really the terrible manifestation of the racism and hate in the American history. The liberation did not make the life of the former slaves safe in the United States as they were persecuted by the radical groups.
Therefore, the events listed above were obviously building up to a major conflict. While the progressive North declared equality among all members of the American society and was calling the United States for the recognition of the rights both of women and the African American population, the South was obviously unwilling to change the accepted state of affairs.
Although the reasons for the given societal position varied from cultural to industrial, each of them amounted to a massive protest against the democratic endeavors of the North and, thus, led to the outbreak of the Civil War. Even though some people like Lot Morrill considered the Civil Rights Bill to be blamed for causing the revolution: “Senator Lot Morrill described it as ‘absolutely revolutionary’” (Berkin, Miller, Cherny and Gormly 449), the chain of events that led to the given crisis was, in fact, much more complex.
Despite the fact that 1860–1877 in the United States was a rather progressive period in that the concept of equality between people of all races and both genders was introduced with the help of the Civil Rights Bill and the Emancipation Proclamation, the social tension that was caused by the emergence of such groups as Ku Klux Klan could not but trigger the conflict that would result in a revolution in a few years.
In order to sum up all above mentioned, it should be said that the time of the Civil War was the remarkable period in the history of the United States. It represented the war against the slavery. The years of the Civil War marked the steps towards the formation of the democracy in the Southern States and the eradication of the racism. The signing of the amendments and legal acts was done in the frameworks of the required Constitutional changes.
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They facilitated the social progress further. Thus, it can be said that the social revolution was achieved due to the Constitutional developments after the Civil War. However, the signing of the important legal documents aimed at the protection of the human rights did not extirpate the hate to the black. The members of the terrorist organizations including the Ku Klux Klan persecuted the former slaves after the end of the War. Undoubtedly, the recovery from the slavery required the long and hard years of struggle.
“American Civil War 1865”. Historylearningsite.co.uk. 2013. Web. <https://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/the-american-civil-war/american-civil-war-january-1865/>.
Berkin, Carol, Christopher Miller, Robert Cherny and James Gormly. Making America: A History of the United States, Volume I: To 1877. Berkeley, MA: Cengage Learning, 2007. Print.
“Ku Klux Klan Act 1871”. Web.grinnell.edu. n.d. Web. <http://web.grinnell.edu/courses/ams/S00/AMS495-01/Legal/1871.html>.
“National Banking Act”. Princeton.edu. n.d. Web.
“Primary Documents in American History”. Loc.gov. 24 Aug. 2012. Web.
“The 1866 Civil Rights Act”. Pbs.org. 19 Dec. 2003. Web.