On Thursday, day 5, we dropped history class. We then went on to discuss the role of Lincoln's vice president, Andrew Johnson on Friday. We learned about him by reading his life story and obituary. After reading about him and his rise to power, despite his lack of a formal education, I made a decision about him and his political career. I believe that he was a good president, who had a good idea for the future of the United States, but he was corrupted in his goal of fighting the Radical Republicans. He spent too much of his time and energy on the Radical Republicans and lost sight of the task at hand (Reconstruction). Due to this, he was impeached and nearly kicked out of office.
Today we took notes on the events following the Reconstruction of the South and the beginnings of discrimination and the civil rights movement. We first discussed how African Americans took advantage of the rights guaranteed by the 15th amendment and what white Southerners thought of the amendment. The slideshow then went on to tell about how, in response to the sudden freedoms given to African Americans, the KKK, a group dedicated to the discrimination of African Americans, was born. I am both surprised and appalled that a group with such dark ethics would be allowed and able to rise to power. Towards the end of the class, we discussed how Congress began to battle the KKK, by enacting the Enforcement Act of 1870 and later the Civil Rights Act of 1875. This act was a final attempt for Congress to secure African American rights, but unfortunately, a rather large loophole was left, allowing business owners to kick out blacks based on the nervousness invoked on their other clients by the African American presence. I am curious as to whether Congress left that loophole unnoticed, or if they saw it and simply realized that nothing could be done. The class was concluded with a sheet about different arguments as to whether the Civil Rights Act of 1875 was Constitutional, based on the 14th amendment.