The southern states were devastated by the war, entire cities had been burned to the ground and many farms had been destroyed by the fighting. When the war ended, the difficult task of rebuilding was undertaken. In 1865, the Reconstruction Era began.
After the bloody battle of Antietam, Lincoln had freed the southern slaves with the Emancipation Proclamation. However, there remained the question of how African Americans were to be integrated into southern society.
A group called the Radical Republicans was determined to elevate the status of black people. This group was largely responsible for the 14th Amendment that gave African Americans citizenship. Blacks received the right to vote, and for a decade many African Americans sought and received political office. The Freedman's bureau was formed to help blacks adjust to life after slavery.
Of course, all of these new rights and opportunities for black people were an affront to white southerners, who had just fought a war to keep them enslaved. Hostility toward African Americans grew, but even more hatred was focused on two groups: carpetbaggers and scalawags. Carpetbaggers were northern opportunists who came to the South in order to take advantage of the misfortunes of southern whites. Scalawags were southerners who took advantage of their white neighbors.
A backlash was inevitable, southern whites fought back with harsh black codes that restricted the rights and attempted to control the behavior of blacks. Most of the gains made by the Radical Republicans were reversed. It would be many decades before African Americans would receive anything that resembled equal treatment, and many people today believe that black people are still not treated as equals.
South America is southwest of Europe.