The Civil War

In the video The Better Angels of our Nature by Ken Burns, it is shown how the North of America celebrated the end of the civil war. It also shows the mixed feeling that people had because of the economic ruins of the South, the end of the war, setting slaves free, and the reconstruction. The term reconstruction was used in the United States in the form of the amendments or changes that occurred or had to happen after the civil war in order to bring the U.S back to its feet (Burns). The Reconstruction Act was first enacted by the Congress in the year 1867 and was later followed by three other acts. These acts divided the southern part of the United States into five districts. These military districts were under the supreme leadership of an army commander who had the overall authority. Johnson who was the president of the United States at the time was opposed to the idea put forward by the Congress. He was totally against this policy because the Secretary of War, Edwin M Stanton, defied the Tenure of Office Act. The House that wields all the power impeached President Johnson in the year 1868. According to Reconstruction Acts, in the year 1868, new constitutions were implemented in six southern states that joined the union. The states in the South included Florida, South Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas and North Carolina (Fremon 34).

The fourteenth and the fifteenth amendments were similar in nature in the sense that they were all developed to ensure that the citizens of the United States enjoyed equal rights regardless of their race and skin color. The fourteenth amendment was proposed in the year 1866. Two years later, it was ratified and became an entry in the immunity, equal protection, and due process clauses. Under this clause, no citizen of the United States could be deprived of liberty, life or property. Citizens were also ensured equal protection under the law. The fifteenth amendment was ratified in the year 1870 after the fourteenth amendment. It granted the citizens of the United States equity in terms of voting rights regardless of the color and race.

The Jim Crow laws were enacted in the period between the year 1876 and 1965. These laws developed by Jim Crow were state and local in nature. They brought about segregation in the southern states whereby all the public facilities were racially segregated. The impact of this segregation that was brought about by the Jim Crow laws was that the African-Americans in these states were subjected to rights inferior to those set for the white Americans in the southern states. This segregation brought about discrimination whereby the blacks in the southern states were accorded poor education in terms of quality. Areas that were considered to be black territories experienced a slow growth in economic and social facilities development.

The Jim Crow laws affected the African-Americans in the sense that they were considered to be inferior beings to the white Americans in the south. Fountains in the south were clearly labeled black and white, and those set aside for the white were of better quality. The black members of the society could not secure white-collar jobs. The jobs set aside for them were physical in nature. Such jobs included serving as waiters, shoeshine men, and crop helping. The only jobs for the black women were those of helping the whites about the house. In the transportation system, segregation was also evident. The seats in the front of the buses were set aside for the whites while the back seats were for the blacks. This segregation was evident in movie theatres; the front seats were reserved for the white Americans while the balcony seats were set for the blacks in the southern states. “Separate but equal”, according to Jim Crow, meant that it was legal to discriminate against the African-Americans in the southern states of America. This phrase hints at the development of two different societies in the southern states (Fremon 45).

Commemoration of wars in countries is considered to be very sentimental. These wars, in most cases, are commemorated, because they signify the struggles and hardships that a particular country had to suffer in order to gain liberation. These liberations were in the form of independence whereby a particular country was able to overcome colonization and enjoy their natural resources independently. In the United States, these commemorations take place in the form of anniversaries. A good example is the bicentennial anniversary, which made citizens of the United States aware of the conflict that took place between the British and the United States. In this war, some of the indigenous communities in the United States were also engaged in the conflict. The war that took place way back in the year 1812 and influenced other countries as well. Canada, for instance, responded to this war by creating pathways for the country to liberate itself and become independent.

The commemoration of the war between the United States and the Britain also made Canada form its own armed forces. Apart from commemoration of war that is being of historical and sentimental value, it is also educative to the members of the society as it helps them recollect past events. The war veterans appreciate the commemoration of war. Most of these war veterans are the elderly members of the society, and they hardly get a chance to help. Hence during the commemoration ceremony, the war veterans are appreciated and thus feel that they are needed in the society. War veterans endured a lot of pain and sacrifices in terms of loss of life and injuries that they sustained. This is witnessed in the movie by Ken Burns, which revolves around civil war and the hardships endured by soldiers during the war. Hence, in these commemoration activities, the government provides financial support especially to the war veterans. Thus, as a result, the commemoration of war is necessary (Burns).

Works Cited

Fremon, David K. The Jim Crow laws and racism in American history. Berkeley Heights, NJ:

Enslow Publishers, 2000. Print.

Burns, Ken. The Better Angels of our Nature