After the war, formerly enslaved African Americans responded to freedom in different ways. After celebrating the end of the war and their new freedom, most tried to reunite with their separated families. Some set up new institutions, including schools, while participating in politics by voting and even serving in government.

Although formerly enslaved African Americans were promised land and resources from the government to set up their own farms, most did not receive these. Some who did receive land and resources later had them taken away. Newly freed people had to figure out how to survive and support their families.

For about 10 years after the Civil War, the federal government provided services to the formerly enslaved and took steps designed to protect their political and civil rights, but these advances were later overturned.
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