Reconstruction is the rebuilding process that followed the American Civil War. The war lasted from 1861-1865 and at thet end of the war many questions concerning the South and slavery were left unanswered. These problems were what to do about the relationship between the Union and the Confederates. Other questions that arose were, how those who were responsible for the rebellion should be punished and what to do with the newly freed slaves. The freedom of the slaves also caused great economic problems due to the absence of free labor.
Even during the war the idea of reconstruction was present. As the Union forces started to gain more control the idea attracted more attention. By 1863 most Northerners were confident that the South should be made into a society based on free labor, equal rights, and it, would be run under the republican way of government. There were many radicals present in the Republican party which had plans to totally restructure the South and all aspects of it. These were few and far between and posed no real threat to the South.
From this Republican ideology about equal rights came the first breakthrough for African Americans, the 13th Amendmnent to the Constitution. The 13th Amendment was ratified in 1865 and it granted slaves their freedom and abolished slavery from the Unites States. The government set aside special land for the freed slaves to establish themselves on and Congress established the, “ Freedman’s Bureau “ which provided services to freed slaves.