Civil War Reconstruction: Success or Failure?
Slavery was still the largest issue and the reconstruction halted because of the disagreements the people faced. After many years of working, compromising and passing laws, the task proved itself to be impossible, as the country remained to be separated.
The lack of unity was present because most of the amendments, laws and rules passed during reconstruction were created to protect and ensure the rights of African Americans. However the South continued to promote slavery and “putting blacks in their place” until the 1 ass’s.President Lincoln was elected into presidency at a horrible time for the entry but he still fought to do the best he could. After the civil war the main focus of Lincoln was to rebuild the North but still keep the South happy. His plans consisted of making the North’s reconstruction a main focal point and distributing 10% of the damages done to the south to aid their reconstruction. President Lincoln thought that the states that seceded last should be given less guilt than the ones who seceded first. He gave more money to Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Virginia and he treated them better because they were the last to secede.
Along with his plans for construction came the Radical Republicans who were a small minority in congress. They were very strict on giving all rights to African Americans and wanted to punish the south. All of these ideas and plans for Lincoln were all good ideas and could have been successful but they came to an abrupt end when Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth in 1865. After the tragedy of Lincoln death, Vice President Andrew Johnson stepped up into the presidential position and started his own plans for reconstruction; his too, would turn out to be a failure.He supported hardcore Democratic principles and restoring Southern power. He brought in the remaining states back into the constitution. He divided the power Of planters and restricted there voting He created the idea of “blanket pardons” which allowed Southern states that had abolished slavery and repealed their articles of secession to re-assume their powers of government and elect representatives to the Congress.
This all backfired because while the south was happy and the Blacks weren’t voting under Johnson, the Radical Republicans were angered and more conflict was started.The whole idea of everyone being happy wasn’t working at all with anyone. Johnson was the second to go, being the iris impeached president ever. The third plan to come out was that of the Congress. They were more about punishing the south for what they did and giving black equal rights. Their plan was a failure because they created two major acts that were never passed. They had plans of the Freedman’s Bureau Act that was a watch for racism and protection of black rights.
They also came up with the Civil Rights Act in 1866 that ensured black rights but both of these were not passed.Congress did pass a reconstruction act that revoked the pardons, punished the south and protected the rights of slaves. They also passed the 14th and 15th amendments that gave blacks equal rights and voting rights. All this did was cause chaos in the south because they did believe in it even thought it was an amendment. The status of an African American was the focal problem of Reconstruction. Slavery had been abolished by the Thirteenth Amendment, but the white people of the south still thought lowly of blacks and thought that they still belonged as slaves.This was shown in the ‘Black Codes” passed by some of the state legislatures.
Northerners regarded these codes as a “Revival of slavery in disguise. ” The first state to pass the codes was Mississippi in November of 1865. They were a list of codes that were totally anti-Black rights and restrained many of their rights. This was one of four main events that promoted racism in the south. Another cause of racism was the creation of the UK Klux Klan. It was created in the same month as the abolition Of slavery with the Thirteenth Amendment.A group of Ex-Confederate soldiers in Tennessee met to form a secret society of white men, dedicating their lives to resisting pro Black laws and promoting racism.
It functioned as a social club for ex-Confederates and southern men. They dressed up in all white and claimed they were ghosts of dead confederates. They used terrorist tactics coming out at night and murdering/beating African Americans and commonly hung them from trees. This is an example of how the idea of reconstruction just pushed some people into attacking and killing innocent people.On July 30, 1864, Radical Republicans that were angered by black codes in Louisiana and by the legislatures refusal to give Africans the right to vote started the convention of 1864. The 25 delegates met in the convention and 200 African Americans came to support them. Former confederates were threatened by their assembly and raided the convention shooting and killing innocent victims.
00 people were injured, 34 blacks were killed, and 3 whites were killed. This is another example of the lack of unity in the county.A very large cause in allowing racism throughout the south was the Compromise of 1877. In this compromise, the Democrats gave up there chance to win the presidential election and gave the win to Rutherford B Hayes by accepting the Republican presidential electors. In return the Democrats made the Republicans withdraw federal soldiers from their remaining positions in the South. They had to enact a federal legislation that would spur industrialization in the south. They also had to appoint Democrats o patronage positions in the south, and appoint a Democrat to the presidential cabinet.
With no soldiers or watch in the south they were able to commit all the acts of racism they wanted and nothing was done to stop racism until the 1 ass’s. Racism was a part of life for people in the south for a very long time. This all could have been prevented with a better reconstruction plan. The North had no control over the South’s act of racism because of some of the choices they made and things they sacrificed. After the Civil War the entire American population was watching the government to see what would be done about he slavery issue.When it started to tip toward favoring the free blacks, the South stepped up and pushed their way through loopholes in the system to where they could promote racism whenever they wanted. The reconstruction plans all had good points, ideas, or rules in them but none of them worked because the rebellious south din it even follow the rules they didn’t want to.
This made the entire reconstruction period a failure because they didn’t solve the largest problem they had. They abolished slavery and it showed up in the American constitution, but it never showed up in the American society.