Wednesday, December 4, 2019
Reconstruction Essay Example For Students
Reconstruction Essay The Civil War was one of the bloodiest wars in American history. Its damage to America was profound. It tore at the very fiber of America itself. The Reconstruction Essay Era however was as damaging to America as the Civil War itself. Its damage has its roots in the reasons America went to civil war. In the time leading up to the Civil War the south was unhappy so they decided to leave the Union. They thought it was okay to leave if they were unhappy, while the North thought it was wrong. So the two sides went to war. After all was said and done the North had won and now faced the difficult task of reincorporating the South in to the Union once again, as well as rebuilding the South after being torn apart by the war. It was widely believed that Reconstruction was successful, when in fact, as stated by Eric Foner, it was a complete failure. It changed very little in the South. Blacks, on the other hand, wanted full freedom and, above all, land of their own. Inevitably, there were frequent clashes. Some erupted into race riots, but acts of terrorism against individual black leaders were more common. During this turmoil, Southern whites and blacks began to work out ways of getting their farms back into operation and of making a living. Indeed, the most important developments of the Reconstruction era were not the highly publicized political contests but the slow, almost imperceptible changes that occurred in southern society. Blacks could now legally marry, and they set up conventional and usually stable family units; they quietly seceded from the white churches and formed their own religious organizations, which became a central point for the black community. Without land or money, most freedmen had to continue working for white masters; but they were now unwilling to labor in gangs or to live in the old slave quarters under the eye of the plantation owner. The governments set up in the Southern states under the congressional program of Reconstruction were, contrary to traditional cliches, fairly honest and effective. Though the period has sometimes been labeled ;quot;Black Reconstruction,;quot; the Radical governments in the south were never dominated by blacks. There were no black governors, only two black senators and a handful of congressmen, and only one legislature controlled by blacks. Those black who did hold office appear to have been about equal in competence and honesty to the whites. it is true that these Radical governments were expensive, but large state expenditures were necessary to rebuild after the war and to establishfor the first time on most southern statesa system of common schools. Corruption there certainly was, though nowhere on the scale of the Tweed Ring, which at that time was busily looting New York City; but it is not possible to show that Republicans were more guilty than Democrats, or blacks than whites, in the scandals that did occur. If the Civil War was fought to set black slaves free, then Reconstruction proved to be a fight to limit their freedom. Political power was gained by former slaves during the late 1860s, but any power gained was all but gone by the end of the 1880s. Blacks were given liberty in name only for the most part. They were not allowed to develop nor use the skills necessary to take advantage of that liberty in Americas unique system of democracy and capitalism. For most African Americans living in the south during the Reconstruction era, life changed dramatically from enslavement, to a life of limited rights. Even though the reconstruction offered them a few unreliable rights, it failed to offer them the equal amount of social, economic, and political freedoms. It was these three contributing factors that participated in changing the south. The Reconstruction was started by the freed slaves who rallied and protested for civil rights as well as justice. In addition to this, Radical Republicans from 1865 to 1877 temporarily wiped out each state in the Souths system of government. All of the quot;black codesquot;, a series of laws that forced blacks to sign labor contracts requiring them to work at a job for a full year, laws that permitted employers to whip black workers, and laws that allowed states to jail unemployed blacks and hire out their children, that violated or contradicted the equality .