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Why Reconstruction Failed

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 wanted to pursue a policy of reconciliation between the north and the south, but at the same time ensure slavery was abolished. 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. Also at this same time President Andrew Johnson was striving to unify the nation. Northerners had grown increasingly sympathetic to the plight of the black race in the south following numerous well p...

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Why Reconstruction Failed. (1969, December 31). In DirectEssays.com. Retrieved 09:01, October 20, 2014, from http://www.megaessays.com/viewpaper/25872.html