Radical Reconstruction changed the South in many significant ways, but ultimately fell short of the full transformation needed to secure equality for the freedmen. The race question continued to dominate Southern life well past Reconstruction into modern times. With the Civil War’s end in 1866 and the passing of the 13th amendment that abolished slavery, the South needed a large amount of economic charity and political guidance. Instantly, the North came up with a few possible plans for the South’s future. They had already witnessed the black codes, a system that limited African American rights/freedoms, and instinctively thought they were trying to resurrect the “old South.” Radical Republicans and other political groups had their views on what the South was about to become. Eventually, the Civil Rights Act was passed. This act stated that all persons born in the United States were citizens regardless of race, color, or previous servitude. (Except Native Americans).
A nation wide panic spread in 1873 and banks completely ran out of business. People were beginning to lose interest in Reconstruction and blamed the country’s problems on the Republicans. Republicans would promise to respect the civil and political rights of African Americans. This was such a loose term that it almost didn’t mean anything if written on paper. The compromise was one of the worst thought up of in American history and a disappointment to African Americans alike.
Reconstruction had been unsuccessful in more ways than one. It produced a legalized form of slavery. It led to scandal and economic depression. But most importantly it failed in the ultimate goal of granting full equality to African Americans. A disappointment to most political leaders, Reconstruction did not benefit the country in a productive manner, and that is an American shame.