The Reconstruction and Their Causes in Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877, a Book by Eric Foner

Table of Content

Reconstruction is undoubtedly one of America’s most significant periods throughout US. history, So much of what occurred during the Reconstruction period contributed to shaping what we know the United States to be today. Written by Eric Foner, Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877 delves into the topics surrounding Reconstruction and their causes. Foner explains in the beginning of the book how emancipation and its controversial divide throughout the North and South made way for the start of the Civil War. Upon Lincoln’s signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, many rejoiced However, this decision to abolish slavery angered those in favor of the slave system. Churches were divided, political agendas were questioned, and the Union as a whole seemingly fell to pieces. This divide in moral objectives made way for the happenings of a war, “ Eleven slave states seceded from the Union, precipitating in 1861 the bloodiest war the Western Hemisphere has ever known” .

Life following the Civil War would become totally new for many groups of people in both the North and South, “For the Union as well as the Confederacy, the Civil War was a time of change. The Northern states did not experience a revolution as far-reaching as emancipation, but no aspect of life emerged untouched from the conflict”. Although the South was experiencing economic deprivation and attempting to rebuild what was destroyed in the chaos of war, the North was experiencing a period of prosperity, Cities in the North were experiencing “unprecedented growth in population, construction, banking, and manufacturing”.

This essay could be plagiarized. Get your custom essay
“Dirty Pretty Things” Acts of Desperation: The State of Being Desperate
128 writers

ready to help you now

Get original paper

Without paying upfront

The South found its agricultural industry decreasing in value to figures below the ones in its pre- war state. “Between 1860 and 1870… the South experienced precipitous declines in the value of farmland and the amount of acreage under cultivation”. Life for Americans wouldn‘t return to how it was prior to the Civil War and there were many changes for all groups of people In the transition from slavery to a partial idea of freedom, there was a notable amount of change for African Americans as well. Following the outcome of the Civil War and the brief time ensuing after, both sides entered the Reconstruction period. It was necessary to the idea of Reconstruction to establish how the Confederacy would be reintegrated into the Union if slavery needed a replacement labor system, and what place African Americans would have in relation to America’s social and political standing following their newfound emancipation.

On December 8, 1863, Lincoln issued his Proclamation of amnesty and Reconstruction, which offered full pardons to those who took an oath of loyalty to the Union, Once ten percent of a state’s citizens pledged the oath, reconstruction would begin in that state. Foner analyzes Lincoln’s plan to demonstrate the ways in which Reconstruction was affecting citizens almost immediately following the end of the wart Because of the similarities between Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson, many predicted for Johnson to be a near-perfect predecessor for Lincoln. Owning five slaves himself, Johnson countered the idea of him being dispassionate regarding the status of freedmen by making racial policy a focus for Reconstruction. When Reconstruction proposals were presented before the Cabinet, discussions often ended in disagreement- specifically regarding suffrage for blacks.

President Johnson sided with many of the former Confederate associates when he overruled the Freedmen’s Bureau Commissioner and had confiscated land returned to pardoned Southern citizens. He would convince many at different points throughout his presidency that he was too lenient on former Confederate rebelsr “Johnson‘s pardon policy also reinforced his emerging image as the white South’s champions Despite talk of punishing traitors, the President embarked on a course of amazing leniency. “All in all, the 1865 elections threw into question the future of Presidential Reconstruction” (Foner, 197). Following Johnson‘s take on Reconstruction, Foner describes the period following as Radical or Congressional Reconstruction During Radical Reconstruction, Johnson’s successor Ulysses S. Grant would leave a majority of the decisions to be made regarding Reconstruction up to Congress.

In the wide array of changes partaking during the Reconstruction Era, blacks most notably had a number of changes take place in their communities Prior to the Civil War when slaves were counted only as three—fifths of a person when taking congressional voting measures, they would now be included in the majority as a whole person. In addition to this, the Fourteenth Amendment, which granted citizenship to all people born in the United States, caused a substantial amount of uproar. Overall, Reconstruction is a period in American history that signifies the once overwhelming divide between North and South. The leaders present, laws passed, events that took place during Reconstruction had effects on the country that are even still seen to this day Reconstruction will be forever embedded in the history of the United States.

Cite this page

The Reconstruction and Their Causes in Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877, a Book by Eric Foner. (2023, Apr 17). Retrieved from

Remember! This essay was written by a student

You can get a custom paper by one of our expert writers

Order custom paper Without paying upfront