After Lincoln’s momentous Proclamation of New Year’s Day, 1863, emancipation celebrations were shared by Negroes and whites from Boston to San Francisco. Humane values had triumphed, and European support of the South dwindled rapidly. Union victory in the Civil War gave the abolitionists their moral apotheosis, but created massive new problems in the South. The plantation system was destroyed, Simon Legree an impossible anachronism, but the Southern states now became a vast stagnant region where impoverished whites and destitute Blacks lived in debt and ill-health as oppressed sharecroppers. An intricate socio-economic system had been dismantled at a stroke, and there was nothing to replace it. Alternative employment for casualties of disabled agrarianism was not available in southern towns and cities as it was to some extent in New England. The South exacerbated its poverty and compounded its guilt by persecuting its Blacks and bearing the heavy costs of segregation. The official dissolution of the Ku Klux Klan in 1871 was, as the world knows, not effective.
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