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After the Civil War

Reconstruction: Putting Humpty Dumpty Together Again

Reconstruction: Putting Humpty Dumpty Together Again
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.61

     challenging words:    turbulent, rebellion, heated, bloody, destruction, authority, loyalty, unity, refused, oath, lenient, violent, grim, political, newly, death
     content words:    Civil War, Like Humpty Dumpty, Union General William Sherman, President Lincoln, Wade-Davis Bill, On April, Vice-President Andrew Johnson

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Reconstruction: Putting Humpty Dumpty Together Again
By Toni Lee Robinson

1     The headlines screamed the good news. The Civil War was over! The North had triumphed. National rule and unity were secured, and slavery was abolished. The torn and weary nation could move on. But there was one big problem. Like Humpty Dumpty, the broken country needed someone to put it back together again.
2     Congress itself was but half a body. When the southern states seceded from the Union, the congressmen from nearly all of those states left Washington, D.C. Their seats in Congress remained empty. Now that the war was over, the government of America had to restore the defeated enemy within its own borders in order to heal itself.
3     Life in a country crushed by war is often grim. In the southern U.S., destruction was everywhere. Many homes, farms, and businesses had been burned. People struggled to find enough to eat.
4     Roads, fields, and railways lay in ruins. In some places, the iron rails had been taken by Union troops, heated, and twisted around tree trunks. These were called "Sherman's neckties", named after Union General William Sherman. The twisted, useless metal was a symbol of the shattered South.
5     President Lincoln and others had been planning for the rebuilding of the South long before the end of the war. This rebuilding project was called Reconstruction. Lincoln's plan called for pardon for those who promised to support the U.S. Constitution and to obey anti-slavery laws. This promise was called a loyalty oath. Governments could be set up in any state where ten percent of white men took the oath.

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After the Civil War

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