This Week in Reconstruction, May 1-7, 1870

This week in Reconstruction the collapse of the Virginia Capitol, infrastructure projects, and social and legislative racial discussions and debates are at the forefront of the news. The large number of people crowded into the Capitol building to hear the results of a court case that decided who will serve as Richmond's mayor caused the Capitol's balcony to collapse, injuring and killing hundreds. Construction of railway projects was also prominent, since they strengthen the southern states' weakened post-war economy. Through the connection of previously isolated regions of the nation, large-scale cooperation and linkage of crucial know-how and resources will spread across a wide range of individuals and economies. Social and infrastructural developments propel new debates and legislation. The Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments exemplify such and therefore require enforcement nationally through the passing of bills. Consequently, blacks increasingly pursue equality under these protections by voting and demanding services granted to whites by businesses. Additionally during these two weeks of Reconstruction, the consequences and legal validity of actions made during the reign of the Confederacy were debated in Congress. The most significant discussion surrounds the selling of lands and repayment of loans due to the heavy impacts the precedents set by the final decisions made will have on individual wealth, property rights, and the overarching southern economy.

Contributed By

Bryce Smith