silentbob The period after the Civil_War where radical_republicans tried to re-shape the south and re-write the laws and the constitution to grandfather black men and recently freed slaves (freedmen) into the existing society.

It was met with a resistance from southern_democrats that always seems to crop up after and during a period of black empowerment. This was the start of the KKK, the red shirts and other white supremacist groups. It was the start of the black codes, and lead to jim_crow. It also lead to a racist enforcement of the Reconstruction amendment.

The 13th Amendment said you couldn't enslave someone and make them do hard labor, unless they were convicted of a crime. So they started rounding up freedmen for petty crimes like loitering in order to get them to do the labor formerly performed by slaves.

The 14th Amendment stated that all the freedmen were citizens, and has been used in many infamous cases, because of the equal protection clause and others, but also stated that felons lose many of their rights, and many freedmen were charged with felonies for small offenses at a greater rate per capita than whites.

The 15th Amendment prevented anyone from denying someone the right to vote based on color alone, but did not stop states from making their own laws like literacy tests or other kinds of tests to prove ones citizenship (tests that were not given equally to their white counterparts), thus weeding out many black voters.

Basically, Reconstruction was seen largely as an idealistic failure, because racist obfuscation was too great.
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