Was Reconstruction A Success Or Failure Essay


The Reconstruction era was a time of great upheaval in the United States. It followed the Civil War and lasted from 1865 to 1877. During this time, the country underwent a massive transformation. The main goals of Reconstruction were to rebuild the infrastructure of the South, help former slaves adjust to their new freedom, and ensure that all citizens had equal rights.

Reconstruction was largely successful in achieving its goals. The South was rebuilt and slavery was ended. However, many former slaves were still treated poorly and did not have full equality. Additionally, some of the changes made during Reconstruction were later undone, leading to further inequality. Overall, Reconstruction was a time of great progress for the United States, but there were still many challenges that needed to be addressed.

The goal of Reconstruction was to reunite the North and South. Between 1865 and 1877, the federal government under Presidents Johnson and Grant, as well as Congress, which included Radical Republicans attempted to handle political, social, and economic difficulties in the eleven Confederate states.

The successes of Reconstruction were that African Americans were emancipated, given citizenship, and the right to vote with the ratification of the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments. In addition, public education was established in the South for both African American children and white children.

The Freedman’s Bureau helped provide ex-slaves with food, clothing, housing, medical care, and legal assistance. Lastly, many southerners who had been involved with the Confederacy were removed from power through impeachment or by not being allowed to hold office again. The failures of Reconstruction were that African Americans still faced discrimination and violence, especially in the form of Ku Klux Klan terror tactics.

They also did not gain economic equality as most former slaves became sharecroppers, working on plantations owned by whites. Reconstruction did not last long enough to completely rebuild the South and many southerners resented the federal government’s involvement in their affairs. In 1877, the last federal troops were withdrawn from the South and Reconstruction came to an end.

The Presidential Reconstruction was the president’s strategy to bring the Confederate States back into the Union. It began with President Lincoln, who didn’t think the southern states had validly broken away from the United States. Lincoln developed a “10% plan” stating that if 10 percent of a state’s voters swore their allegiance to the United States, it could be readmitted to the Union.

If a state met this criteria, then it would create a new state constitution outlawing slavery. This plan was unsuccessful because it was viewed as too lenient on the southern states.

President Andrew Johnson’s reconstruction plan was more successful. Johnson’s plan allowed former Confederate states to be readmitted to the Union if they ratified the 13th amendment, which outlawed slavery. Johnson also pardoned all southerners who had participated in the rebellion, with the exception of high-ranking Confederate officials and military officers.

This plan was more successful than Lincoln’s because it did not require southern states to adopt new state constitutions or ratify the 14th amendment, which granted citizenship to African Americans.

The final stage of reconstruction was the Congressional Reconstruction. This plan was created by the Radical Republicans in Congress who believed that the southern states had not been adequately punished for their role in the rebellion. The Congressional Reconstruction required southern states to ratify the 14th amendment and grant African Americans full citizenship rights. The congressional plan was more successful than Johnson’s because it resulted in the passage of civil rights legislation that guaranteed African Americans equal protection under the law.

However, the Republicans in Congress felt that only 10% was insufficient and thus developed their own legislation, originally named after Wade Davis, to demand at least 50% of voters to pledge their loyalty to the Union. The Radical Republicans were enraged when President Lincoln rejected the bill.

The Radical Republicans were a faction of the Republican Party that wanted to punish the seceding states more severely and grant more civil rights to African Americans. They gainedcontrol of Congress in 1866 and impeached President Andrew Johnson, who had succeeded Lincoln after his assassination, for violating the Tenure of Office Act, which they had passed over his veto. The Radical Republicans’ plan for Reconstruction was embodied in the Reconstruction Acts of 1867.

The first Reconstruction Act divided the South into five military districts and outlined how new state governments, called Reconstruction governments, would be formed. It also required Southern states to ratify the 14th Amendment, which granted citizenship to all persons born or naturalized in the United States, including African Americans, and guaranteed due process and equal protection of the laws.

The 14th Amendment was ratified in 1868, and the Reconstruction Acts resulted in the creation of Reconstruction governments in all of the former Confederate states except Tennessee, which had already ratified the 14th Amendment and had been readmitted to the Union. The Reconstruction governments were controlled by Radical Republicans and were generally unpopular in the South.

They enacted a number of reforms, including new state constitutions that guaranteed African Americans the right to vote, public schools for all children, and higher taxes on wealthy landowners. Many Southerners opposed these changes, and white supremacist groups like the Ku Klux Klan violence against African Americans and supporters of Reconstruction.

As Reconstruction came to an end in the 1870s, many of the gains made by African Americans were lost. The federal government withdrew its troops from the South, and white supremacist groups regained control of state governments. African Americans were once again denied the right to vote, and Jim Crow laws enforcing racial segregation were enacted. Reconstruction was a time of great progress for African Americans, but ultimately it was a failure in its goal of ensuring equality for all citizens.

When Lincoln was shot dead in 1865, Johnson became president and continued to strive toward the Union’s healing. However, he did it when Congress wasn’t in session. As a result, legislators felt left out of the process. Although President Johnson was able to implement Lincoln’s reconstruction strategy, there were problems that arose. There were too many Confederate politicians in politics and the establishment of black codes, which limited blacks’ rights.

In 1866, Congress proposed the Fourteenth Amendment, which granted citizenship to all persons born or naturalized in the United States- including former slaves. The amendment also paved the way for future civil rights legislation.

In 1867, Congress passed Reconstruction Acts that placed military governors in charge of ratifying new state constitutions. African Americans were given the right to vote and hold office.

Despite these successes, reconstruction was ultimately a failure. White southerners resented the changes taking place and used violence and intimidation to keep blacks from voting. By the 1870s, most African Americans had lost their political power and were living in poverty.

The end of reconstruction marked a turning point in American history. The federal government withdrew its troops from the South, and Reconstruction came to an end. Southern states were once again left to deal with the issue of race on their own.

Reconstruction was a time of great change in America. While it did not fully achieve its goals, it did pave the way for future progress.


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