Why Reconstruction Failed

Length: 3 Pages 790 Words

The political, social and economic conditions after the Civil War defined the goals of Reconstruction. At this time, Congress was divided politically on issues that grew out of the Civil War: readmitting southern states to the Union, rebuilding the south, black equality and deciding who would control the government. Socially the south was in chaos. Newly emancipated slaves wandered around the south after having left their former masters; the white population was spiritually devastated and uneasy with what lay ahead for them. Economically the south was also, itself, devastated with plantations in ruin, railroads torn up and the system of slave labor in shambles. Amid post-Civil War chaos, various political groups were scrambling to further their agendas. First, southern Democrats, made up of leaders of the Confederacy and other wealthy southern whites and who dominated the south, sought to end what they perceived as future northern domination of the south. Southern Democrats sought to limit the rights of blacks to vote, travel and change jobs, which like slavery, would provide a cheap labor supply for plantations. Second, the Moderate Republican party wan Continue...

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Third radical Republicans, which were comprised of northern politicians, were strongly opposed to slavery and unsympathetic to the south and merely wanted to protect newly freed slaves. A fourth element were various other groups, abolitionists and Quakers, who were strongly motivated by principle and the belief in equality in which blacks needed this equality in American society, although they differed in what the nature of that should be. In 1865 Congress enacted the Freedmen's Bureau, which was designed to assist the blacks in their struggle to live as free people. "Reconstruction After the Civil War" is a very insightful book in showing the violence and unfair treatment of blacks in the post-war south. ted to pursue a policy of reconciliation between the north and the south, but at the same time ensure slavery was abolished. Before the Civil War, slaves were considered to be equal to three-fifths of a person when determining how many representatives could be sent to Congress for each state. American race relations played a key role in the failure of Reconstruction. However, not only did President Andrew Johnson believe that whites were superior to blacks but almost the entire majority of the white population believed this as well. He would be a most fascinating man to converse with, I do believe. The extension of suffrage to black males was a political move by the Republicans in Congress who believed that blacks would form the backbone of the Republican party in the south, preventing southern Democrats from winning elections in the southern states in which would lead to an uphold of the Republican majority in Congress after southern states had rejoined the Union. Some may argue that Reconstruction succeeded more than it failed but I believe that not to be true. Men grew tired of fighting a problem that was getting nowhere. I was extremely impressed with the fact that among John Hope Franklin's vast amount of awards he has received, he is also the recipient of approximately one hundred and twenty-eight honorary degrees. Now, after these freed slaves were awarded their freedom along with the right to vote, they would be counted as a full person thus giving southern states twelve more votes in Congress and an additional twelve electoral votes.


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