Reconstruction was a time period, following the Civil War, which focused on rebuilding the nation. Reconstruction was primarily focused with readmitting the seceded states into the Union. Another major issue was the condition of the approximately 4 million freedmen.
When slavery was abolished in the Thirteenth Amendment, Southerners used black codes to retain control over blacks. These state laws varied in strictness and detail from state to state; they abased the status of the freedmen by regulating their activities and treating them as social and civil inferiors.
Generally black codes were not beneficial, because the supposedly freedmen were treated little more than slaves.
“Furthermore, to define the status of freed men and women and control their labor, some legislatures merely revised large sections of the slave codes by substituting the word freedmen for slave.” (pg. 448 Nortan)
Congress would not stand for such injustice. In 1865 the Freedmen’s Bureau was established. The Freedmen’s Bureau is considered by many to be a failure because blacks were living in poverty and were still victims of injustice.
Despite the many criticisms, the Freedmen’s Bureau did help African-Americans gain numerous humanitarian reforms, most importantly the right of education. Slaves had been denied of such simple rights as to read a book at their own will. Education was freedom from slavery’s incarcerating ignorance.
“The federal government and northern reformers of both races assisted this pursuit of education. …Given the eventual failure of Reconstruction, the gains that African-Americans made in their daily lives often proved the most enduring.” –pg 460 Nortan
“In spite of its achievements, the Freedmen’s Bureau did not solve the serious economic problems of African Americans.
Most of them continued to live in poverty. They also suffered from racist threats and violence and from laws restricting their civil rights. All these problems cast a deep shadow over their new freedom.”
“Violence against African-Americans occurred from the first days of the Reconstruction…klansmen rode to frustrate Reconstruction and keep the freedman in subjection. Nighttime harassment whippings, beatings, and murder became common, and terrorism dominated some areas.” Nortan Pg.
“In spite of its achievements, the Freedmen’s Bureau did not solve the serious economic problems of African Americans. Most of them continued to live in poverty. They also suffered from racist threats and violence and from laws restricting their civil rights. All these problems cast a deep shadow over their new freedom.” (http://www.campus.