There are many reasons why Reconstruction can be seen as a failure. One reason is that it did not successfully bring social and economic equality to African Americans in the Southern United States. Another reason is that it did not effectively address the issue of white supremacist violence against African Americans. Finally, Reconstruction era politics was highly divisive, leading to a further deterioration of relationships between the North and South.
Reconstruction began in 1865, the year the Civil War ended, and lasted until 1877. This was an important time for the United States to reunite its fractured nation. The federal government was undecided whether or not to punish or pardon the eleven rebel states that had seceded from it. The three objectives emerged from the federal government during Reconstruction: restore the South, guarantee freedman’s rights, and bring together the country. Only one of them succeeded in conclusion; physical unification
The primary reason for the failure of Reconstruction was white southerners’ resistance to change. They were unwilling to accept African Americans as social and political equals. This resulted in the rise of groups like the Ku Klux Klan, who used violence and intimidation to keep African Americans from voting or holding office. Many northerners also lost interest in Reconstruction as time went on.
The election of 1876 was a major turning point in Reconstruction. The Republican candidate, Rutherford B. Hayes, won the election, but only after a controversial vote count in which Hayes’s supporters agreed to end Reconstruction in exchange for his victory. This compromise effectively ended Reconstruction and left many African Americans without any federal protection from southern violence.
The most difficult transfer for the South came after the Emancipation Proclamation and the final abolition of the 13th Amendment. During this period, approximately 3-4 million people were enslaved in the United States. When governments attempted to safeguard freedmen’s rights, they failed. They just completed half of their mission in unifying America, as they did with African-Americans’ rights.
The white southerners were not happy with this change, as they had to give up their slaves–one of their most valuable assets. The African-Americans, on the other hand, were ecstatic and filled with hope for the future. They thought that finally, after centuries of oppression, they would be given an equal chance in society.
However, this was not the case. The southerners were not ready to accept them as equals and went to great lengths to keep them from gaining any sort of power or influence. They instituted Jim Crow laws, which were a series of laws that segregated blacks and whites in every aspect of life. They also passed Black Codes, which limited the rights of blacks and made it difficult for them to find work or own land.
The African-Americans were not the only ones who faced discrimination during Reconstruction. Northerners who came down to help with the reconstruction efforts also received a lot of backlash. They were called carpetbaggers and were accused of coming down to the South to take advantage of the situation. The southerners resented them for coming in and trying to tell them what to do.
All of these factors combined made Reconstruction a failure. The whites in the South were not ready to give up their power, and the African-Americans were not given the equality that they deserved. Reconstruction was supposed to be a time of healing and rebuilding, but it only served to further divide an already broken nation.
For instance, the 14th amendment, which prohibits states from denying people their fundamental rights. It essentially extended to freedpeople the privileges of a white person, including the ability to vote. However, when African Americans attempted to exercise their right to vote, many were stopped or prevented by intimidation, torture, abduction, or even death.
The Ku Klux Klan was a large part of the whites’ resistance to Reconstruction. The Klan would intimidate blacks and also any whites who were sympathetic to them through violence and terrorism. They also worked to prevent blacks from voting by attacking those who tried to register to vote, as well as burning down schools and churches that were built for freedman during Reconstruction. Overall, the white resistance to Reconstruction was a huge factor in its failure.
Another factor that lead to the failure of Reconstruction was the corruption within the Republican Party. Many of the carpetbaggers (northerners who moved south during reconstruction) were only interested in making money and not actually helping rebuild the south or improve conditions for African Americans. This led to a lot of resentment from southern whites towards the Republican Party, as well as a loss of support from northerners.
Reconstruction was also made difficult by the fact that there were few people who actually had experience in government, since most southerners had never held public office before the Civil War. This lack of experience led to much corruption and inefficiency in government. Overall, there were many factors that lead to the failure of Reconstruction. The white resistance, corruption, and inexperience all played a role in its ultimate demise.
The Klu Klux Klan was founded for the express purpose of discriminating. Shurz also notes additional prejudices against blacks, including a ban on interracial marriages and employment discrimination. The white widows were said to be furious with the black widows for copying their style and wearing a veil to show that your husband had died. Other efforts were made to assist ex-slaves adapt to freedom and contribute in society, but all of them failed under President Johnson’s administration.
The overall feeling was that the goals of reconstruction were not being achieved. The Fourteenth Amendment, which granted citizenship to all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and the Fifteenth Amendment, which prohibited states from denying a citizen the right to vote based on “race, color, or previous condition of servitude,” were both passed during this time.
Blacks began to be elected into office, but these advances were quickly met with backlash. In the end, many believe that the failure of Reconstruction was due to a combination of things, including racism, politics, and a lack of will to see it through.