One of the biggest obstacles came in the form of Jim Crow Laws. These state laws circumvented federal legislation. While the federal government instituted change, the states in the South preserved the old ways with the poll tax, the literacy clause, and the grandfather clause. Further, because the federal government suffered from corruption, the southern states were also able to broker deals that allowed them to some autonomy. Most notably, the Election of 1876 led to the decision to grant southern states home rule.
The literacy test was effective because freed slaves generally were illiterate. This meant they were subsequently poor and could not pay the poll tax. For poor illiterate whites, they could still vote because of the grandfather clause, but this was not to be the case for freed slaves. Preventing the black vote meant that white society could preserve the old ways.
The federal government was unable to intervene because they faced their own issues. With the Election of 1876, the federal government sacrificed control of Reconstruction so that the office of the President would remain in the hands of the Republican Party.
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