Reconstruction Essay

 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.

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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.

 

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