A to ensure evenly equal rights throughout the nation

A revolution signifies a change in the ideals of a society. The Civil War was a very bloody war in american history which was due to the conflicting ideals of the North and the South. The severe conflict pitted “brother against brother” and in the aftermath of the conflict, radical social changes were instituted that changed the United States Constitution forever.    One of the greatest constitutional conflicts revolved around the issue of states rights versus the power of the federal government. This contrast was seen in the North and the South. The North was free and industrial and the South was agricultural with slavery. Sometimes states attempted to nullify laws which were not beneficial for them as exemplified by South Carolina and the Tariff of abominations. This rebellion led to the secession and their secession illustrated that the issue of states rights needed to be solved. (Doc A)  The victory of the Union in the Civil War provided the opportunity for this. After this victory, nullification was no longer considered an option for states, while secession was shown to be unsuccessful. These results increased the power and authority of the federal government by ending the states’ dispute over its actions.The end of the Civil War brought constitutional questions for the newly restored Union. The conditions of the newly freed blacks raised questions over the authority of the federal government to grant suffrage or legislate civil rights laws. States’ rights argued that the Constitution had not given this power to the federal government, thereby leaving it to the states. The diary of Gideon Welles shows that these doubts were even inside the government. (Doc D) However, Congress decided that only federal authority could guarantee a right such as suffrage or to give useful civil rights. This was necessary to ensure evenly equal rights throughout the nation and prevent discrimination by states. The overall results of these constitutional arguments was to increase and solidify the federal government’s authority. The states options of nullification and secession were ended permanently. Also, power over suffrage and civil rights were given to the federal government. This change would increase the areas in which the federal government would be permitted to legislate. The immensity of this change was noted at the time in the March 23, 1871 issue of Nation. (Doc H) It summarizes these new powers as “the duty of protecting life and property,” and states that such power had not been held by the federal government before.The end of the Civil War also brought a solution for the social problems in the U.S.. The Emancipation of the slaves presented the need for giving them the rights of citizens. The federal government granted them citizenship, civil rights, and suffrage. (Doc F) This brought immense change to the lifestyle of the south. Blacks gained political power and elected many leaders in government. (Doc G) Blacks had finally received the recognition and respect as Americans they had worked for. The Petition to the Union convention in Tennessee illustrates the emotion blacks felt in this area. (Doc C) Blacks were also given a chance to improve their economic status by the Freedmen’s Bureau. They received free education and other assistance. The Bureau, however, failed to distribute land in large amounts as it was promised to do. (Doc E) The reaction of the South signalled a deeper division there. The Ku Klux Klan tried to suppress the blacks. State government also did this with their Black Codes. These included voting restrictions which made it difficult for blacks to vote. Thomas Nast noted this division and the hatred it contained in his cartoon in Harper’s Weekly in 1874. (Doc I)The social changes of this time period brought many new rights and freedoms to blacks. They were able to attain the privileges of citizenship. However, the reaction of many whites in the South triggered a racial division there which would last for many years and cause many more problems. In this respect, the revolution was not as complete or successful as had been hoped for.The time period between 1860 and 1877 saw great social and constitutional change. The powers of the federal government were expanded. Blacks were now citizens and given their civil rights. However, the white reaction caused a racial divide there. These changes certainly amount to a revolution in the American way of life. 


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