Civil War Legacy
THe SCHOOL DeseGreGaTion cases of the 1950s
and the injustices they revealed were rooted in the social upheaval of the previous century. The victory of the North in the Civil War freed the slaves and left white Southerners bitter and determined to regain power.
After the war, the federal government took control of the South. This period, known as Reconstruction, lasted from 1865 to 1877. Two factions in Congress vied for control during this period. The Radical Republicans wanted to make certain that the wealthy plantation owners of the old South did not win back control. They supported equal rights for black citizens and pushed for adoption of the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery. The Moderates' main goal was to restore the political rights of the Southern states. They cared far less about the plight of blacks in the South.
In 1865, the former Confederate states abolished slavery and, with the exception of Mississippi, ratified the Thirteenth Amendment. In exchange, President Andrew Johnson allowed the states to run their own affairs once again. White plantation owners, later pardoned by President Johnson, won election to local offices. The new state legislatures quickly enacted laws to keep black citizens from gaining power. Under these laws, called the black codes,