Deterioration of Conditions for Blacks in the 19th Century
The political, economic, and social conditions of blacks in the US were better off in the immediate years after the Civil War, but they deteriorated later. In spite of the protection afforded to the African American population by the Thirteenth Amendment to the US Constitution, the White population in the South still sought ways to limit the freedoms and progress of the Blacks. The South passed “Black Codes,” which were laws specially designed to prevent blacks from achieving economic and political equality with the whites. These codes passed by Southern legislatures limited the participation of the black community in the political and economic arena. These laws regulated the rights of blacks to hold and sell the property and compelled the freedmen to work or face fines or imprisonment. The laws were structured in such a way as to encourage blacks to serve as agricultural laborers while barriers were imposed on non-agricultural occupations.
The political condition of the blacks deteriorated due to violence by the White community. Massive violence and electoral fraud led to a sharp decline in the number of black legislators in the South. The reduction in representation meant that blacks could not push for laws that favored them. Finally, the decision by the government to formally end reconstruction efforts contributed to the deterioration of the conditions of Blacks in post-Civil War America. The reconstruction, which began in 1965, had contributed to the advancements of the black community by guaranteeing the political and economic rights of the Blacks, especially in the South. By the early 1870s, the Republican government was losing enthusiasm in actively protecting the rights of the black population due to opposition from the white population. The end of reconstruction in 1877 effectively guaranteed the disenfranchisement of the blacks in the South.