Reconstruction Essay

The Reconstruction of the South was the time period after the Civil War; where several different groups in the government tried to solve the economic, political, and social problems - Reconstruction Essay introduction. Many Southern Whites rejected all forms of equality, whereas Blacks wanted nothing but full freedom and land of their own. A lot of the controversy led to frequent and inevitable riots. The Reconstruction of the South lasted 12 years from 1865 to 1877. It was one of the most controversial periods in the nation’s history. In that time period Blacks were blamed for many things.

One of those things they were blamed for were the failures during The Reconstruction period. Question one: “What were the failures of Reconstruction and what were its successes? ” There were many failures during The Reconstruction, some issues were the Klu Klux Klan, poverty, Black-codes, and taxes. The Klu Klux Klan was a group of white men who wore white robes and pretended to be the ghosts of Confederate soldiers. Some say they were frightened of change and the rising rights of African Americans. They felt that they were meant be slaves and laborers all their lives.

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Unfortunately, the Klu Klux Klan was a very violent group. They would attack the African Americans frequently, setting their houses on fire and letting them burn to the ground. Poverty during The Reconstruction period was an issue in the South. Southern white landowners had lost all their land and many Blacks were newly freed. Blacks and Whites alike were all having trouble finding land they could afford. Sadly for both, tenant farming and ! Mikayla Musco History 17. 2 February 9, 2013 sharecropping became their way of living.

Sharecropping and tenant farming was when farm owners would hire a family to work on their farm. Some attempted to sell land for a very low cost, some could afford it, but many were still having troubles affording even the low cost land. Fortunately, there was a solution called the Southern Homestead Act. The Southern Homestead Act was passed on July 21st, 1866. This act opened up 46 million acres of public land for sale in 160-acre plots in the Southern states. There were Black-Codes, which meant that even though the slaves were freed men there was still restrictions.

They restricted their economic rights, which meant they couldn’t vote. They also couldn’t hold office or serve on a jury, and they could not receive a public education. Also another failure during The Reconstruction period were taxes. Since there was so much damage from the Civil War, taxes were elevated in order to rebuild the South. Question one, two and three: “What were the failures of Reconstruction and what were its successes? ” “Why did it collapse, to the extent that it did? ” “How successful was the Union in reincorporating the southern states and people? Although it seemed like The Reconstruction period looked like a total disaster, and many people criticized it, or made it almost “mission impossible. ”

The Reconstruction helped develop the role of the federal government in protecting citizens’ rights, and the possibility of economic and racial justice. It was also the effort for African Americans, whom where formerly enslaved to obtain full freedom and claim their rights as citizens. Although these where subjects that caused a lot of tension in the “New America”, The Reconstruction was the start of fixing all the problems regarding inequality.

Some slaves stayed with their former masters, and some took the advantage of being free. But Robert. E Lee and a ! Mikayla Musco History 17. 2 February 9, 2013 few others had called on people to stay and help rebuilding the former Confederate states. Regardless, many removed themselves from the South because of the catastrophe, and the defeat of the South. Many slaves moved to the northern states and out West. Southern Whites were suffering from a large drop in income. The South’s economy had been in a steep decline until 1880.

The South rebuilt the economy after the Civil War through federal loans and “carpetbaggers”. A carpetbagger is a person from the northern states who went to the South after the Civil War to profit from The Reconstruction. Question 4: “Did Reconstruction come to an end primarily because the North abandoned it or because it was opposed by the South? ” The Reconstruction era ended because of the Compromise of 1877. The Compromise of 1877 was an unwritten agreement between Republicans and Democrats in the U. S. Congress to settle the disputed Presidential election of 1876.

In the election, results showed Democrat Samuel Tilden lost, and Republican Rutherford B. Hayes won by 20 disputed electoral votes from southern states. With the win by Hayes, Democrats agreed to let Hayes become president in exchange for a complete withdrawal of federal troops from the South. Republicans agreed, and shortly after Hayes was sworn in as President, he ordered the remaining federal troops to vacate South Carolina and Louisiana. Question 5: “How did African Americans feel about the possibilities and the terrors of Reconstruction? ” Unfortunately, African Americans still had fewer rights.

In the story “My Bondage and My Freedom” by Frederick Douglass, Douglass described the situation many African Americans faced, both good and bad. Douglass had learned from a former master to read ! Mikayla Musco History 17. 2 February 9, 2013 and write, leading to Douglass becoming one of the most famous African American writers in history. Also he would pay white children with bread to teach him how to read and write at a higher level. The children enjoyed it, and didn’t look at him in a different way. With everything he was learning he became an abolitionist.

An abolitionist was an person who was ideologically opposed to slavery in the United Sates. Abolitionists wrote literature about both the moral implications of owning and selling African slaves, and economic prerogatives for the abolition of slavery. Even with the passing of laws such as the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Ammendments, which were aimed at giving Blacks equal protection under law, Blacks were still discriminated upon. Although under law African-Americans had equal rights, they were still considered economically inferior to the Whites, and suffered from this position below them.

Everything was unfair for Blacks. If they had any economic power, the Klu Klux Klan would kill their livestock and destroy anything they could. Any Black business man that would complain about his economic position, or try to enter any other business besides farming, would be beaten and tortured by the Klu Klux Klan. Ultimately, Reconstruction ended because of several factors. Northerners were tired of a decade of Reconstruction efforts, and had become less interested in the South. This was due to the rise of speculation and profit-making in the Gilded Age, and then the hardships of the recession in 1873.

In addition, the conservative Supreme Court repeatedly struck down Radical Republican legislation, issuing rulings that had a devastating effect on Blacks’ civil liberties. Meanwhile, the persistent scare tactics of the Ku Klux Klan and other southern White Supremacy ! Mikayla Musco History 17. 2 February 9, 2013 groups drove many Republicans out of office, giving Democrats a majority in every southern state by 1877. Finally, the Compromise of 1877, and removal of the remaining federal troops from the South, signaled the end of The Reconstruction era.

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