Some of the slaves remained where they were and went to work for the masters that they had previously slaved under. They were paid wages instead of working for free, but they remained because they had gotten along well with their masters and knew that if they remained there they would be able to work and eventually buy land so that they and their family could have their own place to live. Sometimes the masters would even give the freed individuals that they actually liked a small piece of their land so that they could build something. This was one of the other ways that they were able to acquire land from Caucasians
Land grants from the government also gave them a chance to build churches and other buildings as they were still not allowed to share any of these with Caucasians. Many people believe that the Emancipation Proclamation work to make African-Americans more equal, but the only thing that it did was give them their freedom. There was still no equality and many Caucasians still had a very strong hatred of African-Americans which extended far beyond what any government statement could have removed from them
. In other words, these people believed that African-Americans were worthless and really no better than animals, regardless of the Emancipation Proclamation or anything else that could be made into law.
Most African-Americans took jobs that did not give them an opportunity to better themselves and very few of them could read or write. The opposition that was given to their freedom was extremely strong in the South and Caucasian individuals who lived in the Southern states worked to keep African-Americans down as far as they possibly could and not allow them to look for and find a way up the ladder of success
. It was ruled a crime to educate African-Americans and this helped Caucasians to keep African-Americans from gaining further ground once they were freed.
This did not last long, however, and schools for African-Americans were eventually built so that more individuals could be educated. The phrase 'separate the equal' came about during this time as many individuals struggled to stay within the confines of the laws while still ensuring that African-Americans were kept from doing many of the things that Caucasian individuals enjoyed. They were subject to Jim Crow laws and could not sit on the same train cars or ride on the same buses as Caucasian individuals. Some likely believed that they were better off as slaves because at least they had food and a place to live
However, most African-Americans worked extremely hard even though it was clear that Caucasians were trying to hold them down, and some of them actually succeeded in getting quite far although there was still a lack of equality that has carried throughout history. It still remains today in the hearts and minds of many individuals in this country. However, is clear that reconstruction in the South was needed very strongly and that it was important that it happened because African-Americans have been treated cruelly and used as slaves who were assumed to be little better than animals for many years
Naturally, not all masters were cruel to their slaves, and not all Caucasians hated African-Americans, but this was the pervading theme, especially in the South where slavery remained longer than it did in the North. The huge plantations and the need for people to keep them running smoothly likely contributed to this. The Reconstruction in the South would have moved along faster were it not for this issue, and it would have been helped greatly if the federal government had worked harder to enforce it once the war was over
. As it was, they left most of it up to the states to enforce, and the Southern states were not interested in doing any of that. Still angry and bruised after losing the war to the North, they rebelled and tried to keep African-Americans beaten down and in slavery as long as they could.
Freedmen in the North could find better jobs than those in the South, but they did not get enough of the jobs to greatly alter the racial makeup of the workforce. Most people were still reluctant to hire African-Americans, although employers were more open to it in the North than they were in the South, even once slavery in both areas of the country had been completely wiped out. The Reconstruction after the Civil War provided much insight into how the country works and what the more obvious shared values are, and it also allowed for a basis for some of the laws and ideals that are present today
African-Americans in many parts of the world are still not treated equally. There are laws to protect them, just as there are laws to protect other groups, but the opinions held by other individuals have much to do with whether African-Americans are really accepted, or not. In light of this, it would seem like some parts of the Reconstruction period have never really ended and are still going on today. Had it not been for the secession of the Southern states and the fighting that started the Civil War, who knows where this country would be today? The society of that time was far different than the society of this time, and the economy is much different, as well
. There are some who feel the United States grew too fast economically, though, and could not sustain it, which is why the economic and stock market collapses that have plagued history continue to be seen to some degree.
During the time of secession, civil war, and reconstruction there was so much going on that many people did not have the time to really take stock of all of the changes that were occurring in their country. They took many things for granted and did not spend time focused on how to build their economic, political, and societal ideals on a foundation that was strong and safe. Instead they rushed through to do things that they thought would be a good idea and paid the price for them later. Even the secession of the southern states from the Union was not well planned out, and in the long-term it did not work. They lost the war and were forced to concede defeat. Then they moved back into the Union, but there was no real harmony there for quite some time.
There was bitterness and disappointment and a desire to continue to do the things that they wanted to do, the way that they wanted to do them. It is only natural that the southern states would hold this opinion, but there are no longer many hints of the disharmony that plagued this country many years ago. It appears that most of the animosity has been forgotten and the 'rivalry' that remains between North and South is more of the friendly type. It is hard to imagine what the country would be like today if the South had won or if the North and South had continued to remain separate entities. It would be far different, economically and societally.
Eicher, David J., the Longest Night: A Military History of the Civil War (2001).
Donald, David et al. The Civil War and Reconstruction (latest edition 2001)
Blair, Jayne E. The Essential Civil War: A Handbook to the Battles, Armies, Navies and Commanders (2006)
Beringer, Richard E., Archer Jones, and Herman Hattaway, Why the South Lost the Civil War (1986) influential analysis of factors; the Elements of Confederate Defeat: Nationalism, War Aims, and Religion (1988…