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The first reconstruction occurred after the American civil war and lasted up to 1877 (Marable 6). After the civil war the black slaves who were mostly located in the south were freed. The civil war had influenced the goals of the first reconstruction. During this time the congress was still divided politically especially on issues regarding how to manage the situation in the south which was affected socially and economically. The goals of the first reconstruction included; to give the black equality in politics and voting, equality in the use of public facilities, rebuild the south and managing the southern government.

In 1867 the congress passed the fourteenth amendment of the constitution which was geared towards granting citizenship to the black freed slaves as well as promoting their civil liberties (Marable 12). However, the southern states refused to ratify this agreement. Several political events ensued and in March the same year the congress passed the reconstruction act. The fourteenth amendment granted the freed slaves liberty to vote. However, the gains on voting that had been achieved by the blacks in the first reconstruction were lost by 1905. This was done through the introduction of good character test, literacy tests, grandfather clause and intimidation. The situation was aggravated by the introduction of the Jim Crow laws which segregated several public utilities such as toilets and schools based on individuals race (Hine 240). The blacks finally lost their gains that they had achieved after the American civil war.

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The second reconstruction began after the World War II during this period there were attempts to eliminate the apartheid system in the south (Hine 249). This was similar to the fist reconstruction because more and more African-Americans were able to get into influential political positions. The second reconstruction was followed by more conservative political events which aimed at curtailing the gains of the reconstruction in a similar way to the first reconstruction. Although apartheid had been legally eliminated in the south there was still widespread racism and discrimination. The goals of the second reconstruction involved unifying the country and eliminating racism (Hine 249). The objectives were to give every American equal opportunities and integration with the social and political systems.

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