Apush Dbq Revolutionary Changes During Reconstruction Essay
The period of the Civil War and Reconstruction, lasting from 1860-1877, the nation underwent a multitude of powerful changes, physically and emotionally - Apush Dbq Revolutionary Changes During Reconstruction Essay introduction. A school of thought today exists that, “The North won the war, bur the South won reconstruction. ” What does this mean exactly? When the Union defeated the Confederacy, Northerners, freemen, and existing slaves imagined a political and social revolution in which their dreams of abolition and government power would manifest itself.
However, the civil rights movement within the constitution, specifically the additions of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments, brought to life the desires of the Union, but in the South such hostility and racism still existed that there was little to no change in the treatment of African Americans on a social level. Lincoln didn’t want to “punish” the South, and that reconstruction would best bring the two sides of the nation together without grandly offending anyone. This tiptoeing around the Confederacy’s wrong doings allowed Southerners to feel no sense of consequence.
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Despite the revolutionary changes to the constitution during the time of 1860-1877, Reconstruction failed not at igniting a social revolution of equality. Senator Lot Morrill spoke in Congress about the Civil Rights Act of 1866 that sought to protect the rights of African Americans by the U. S. Constitution. While admitting that the bill was revolutionary, he almost denounces it when he claims that, “Every substantial change in the fundamental constitution of a country is a revolution. Morrill understands that he is living in a world of constant change and war, and how that translates to the constitution can get lost (document F). Constitutional change and revolution had come about through the Civil War straight into reconstruction.
Beginning in 1860, when the Confederate States started succession. In document A, South Carolina declares reasons for succession being oppression from the Constitution and national government. They wanted state power. This document itself at face value seems easonable, but the state of South Carolina has a history of a wish for sovereignty as well as slavery, and therefore in this document exists some bias. Now oppose document A, a first hand account of the want of individual state power, to document B, a proposal for a further nationalization within the government. A currency crisis existed during the time of the Civil War. John Sherman’s argument could be seen as biased for his northern, republican standing, but he deviates away from the importance of currency to remark on the importance of unity.
He states that the lack of nationality is “on the great evils of all time” and that state authority over government authority would lead to a Confederate win. His argument is sincere in a cry for unity (document B). The ultimate cry for unity was in the form of racial equality. Constitutional change brought about what could have been a start to social reform, but hate was still present in the South as well as fear in the North.
An assumption is commonly made that all abolitionist believed in racial equality, which was not the case. Document C is an account from Gideon Welles, Lincoln’s Secretary of the Navy, and states “We shall get rid of slavery by constitutional means. But conferring on black civil rights is another matter. ” One of Lincoln’s men against complete racial equality- here exists a problem. Free African Americans took the political stage in a variety of ways to attempt suffrage and property rights.
Document C is a petition created by African Americans asking how the Union could trust them with guns and weapons to fight for them during the Civil War, but not with the simplicity of a vote? This could be seen as biased because of their race, but the black men who drafted the petition conclude with “where is the black traitor” which has a strong validity. Another example of African Americans involved in politics is the Freedmen’s Bureau, an appendage to the government during Lincoln’s era, was made up completely of free blacks or slaves.
Free black men cried out to the Bureau and to the President for the right to purchase and own property. The men were revolutionary in their request for a Homestead in the former Confederate States, and were eventually granted the right to own land and the vote, seen in document G, a picture of the first black vote. Then in 1871, the Ku Klux Klan Act, granted blacks government protection from hate groups during the reconstruction era. In document H, the Nation praised the act a “novelty”.
However, my argument that a social revolution did not follow the constitutional set up provided for it is manifested in document I, a political cartoon created in 1874, eight years after the Civil Rights Bill of 1866 and three years after the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, depicts a white southerner and a member of the KKK joining forces to oppress and torture African Americans. There was no change in morale in the south concerning equality, despite the extremely inspiration and powerful constitutional changes regarding civil rights. Therefore, a constitutional revolution did not translate to that of a social reform.