Was Reconstruction a Success or Failure

The reconstruction ara had begun in 1863 after the north had won the war over the South. Abraham Lincon wanted to be lenient to the South to make it easier for them to rejoin the union. He said that anyone in the south that took an oath to the union would be given a pardon. Also said that if 10% of the voters in a state-supported the union then a state could be remitted into the union. The Reconstruction was also the period after the Civil Car was in which the states formerly part of the Confederacy were brought back into the united states. During Reconstruction, the south was divided into military districts for the supervision of elections to set up new state governments

Abraham Liicion had come up with the Ten percent plan was a Reconstruction plan for the south in1863, The bases of the plan were that a state would be readmitted into the when ten percent of its 1860 voting population had taken an oath of allegiance to the Union and accepted the end of slavery. Only high-rank confederates such as army officers and government officials would ve except a full pardon for their role in the conflict. The plan was deeply in popular with radical republicans who felt it was too much too lenient towards the Confederates.

Since Abraham Lincoln could not finish what he had planned for reconstruction it got passed onto Andrew Johnson.There were many challenges that the south was faced with. Under the presidency of Andrew Jackson the legislative passed codes called the black codes they controlled the labor and behavior of former slaves or African Americans. These codes engaged the north including the congressmen.

The North argued that the codes violated the fundamental principles of free labor ideology. The back codes also granted the African Americans with little freedom. Including the right to buy and own property, marry, and make contracts and testify in court. Blacks who broke the codes were beaten to death and even arrested. Under Johnson Reconstruction policies all southern states have there own black codes in 1865 and 1866.

Some states limited the type of property that the blacks could own. All former Confederate states passed the strict and labor contract laws called the ¨antienticement¨ measures designed to punish anyone who offered higher wages to a black laborer already under contract.During radical reconstruction which began 1867 newly enfranchised blacks gained a voice in government for the first time in American History, winning election to southern state legislators and even to the us congress . in less than a decade however reactionary forces including the Ku Klux Klan would reverse the changes wrought by Radical Reconstruction in a violent backlash that restored white supremacy in the south.

When the civil war began president Lincolns had a goal was the restoration of the union . But early in the war, the union began keeping escaped slaves rather than returning them to their owners. In September 1862, Lincoln issued the emancipation proclamation, freeing all slaves in areas that were still in rebellion against the union. When the civil war began president Abraham Lincoln carefully framed the conflict as concerning the preservation of the union rather than the abolition of slavery.

Although he personally found the practice of slavery abhorrent he knew that neither northerners nor the residents of the border slave states would support the abolition as a war aim. But by mid-1862 as thousands of slaves fled to join the invading northern armies, Lincoln was convinced that abolition had become a sound military strategy as well as the morally correct path. On September 22 soon after the Union victory at Antietam, he issued a preliminary emancipacipatíon proclamation declaring that as of January 1, all slaves in the rebellious states “shall be then, thenceforward forever free.¨ While the emancipation proclamation did not free a single slave, it was turning into a point war, transforming the fight to preserve the nation into a battle for human freedom.

The Republican party was the political party that dominated both the U.S. Congress and the new southern governments during the Reconstruction era. Before the war, most Republicans had tended to live in the north and favored protections for business interest, public support for internal improvements (roads and services) and social reforms. As the reconstruction era progressed, the Republican party grew more conservative and its influence in the south decreased as that the white southern democrats increased. The offensive nickname to any white southerners who joined the Republican party and took part in the reconstruction governments. The democratic party had been dominant in the south before the civil war and which regained control at the end of reconstruction.

Generally, Democrats were conservatives who opposed the kinds of changes advocated by the republicans especially those that feel have the federal government too much power. They were formed in 1792 when the supporters of Thomas Jefferson began using the name Republicans or Jefferson Republicans to emphasize its anti-aristocratic policies. It got its name during the presidency of Andrew Jackson in the 1830s. The party was in conflict over extending slavery to the western territories. Southern Democrats insisted on protecting slavery in all the territories while many northern Democrats resisted. The Democratic party identified itself as the “white man’s party” and demonized the Republicananas the negro dominated, ”even though whites were in control.

When Lincoln issued the emancipation proclamation in 1863, and by wars end, the Republican majority in Congress would spearhead the passage of the 13th amendment, which abolished slavery. After the northern voters rejected johnsons polices in the congressional election in late 1866 republicans in congress took firm hold of Reconstruction in the south. The following March again over johnsons veto, Congress passed the Reconstruction act of 1867, which temporarily divided the south into five military districts and outlined how governments based on universal male suffrage were to be organized. The southern states to ratify the 14th Amendment, which broadened the definition of citizenship granting ëqual protection¨ of the constitution to former slaves before they could rejoin the union.

In February 1869 Congress approved the 15th amendment which guaranteed that a citizens right to vote would not be denied ¨On account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.With the adoption of the 15th Amendment a politically mobilized African American community joined with white allies in the southern states to elect the Republican party to power which brought about the radical changes across the south.

In 1866 the Radical Republican Congress sought to remove President Johnson from office. Johnson attacked the Republicans, especially the radical members in a highly publicized speaking tour and urged southern states not to ratify the proposed Fourteenth Amendment.Congress responded by reducing the size of the Supreme court to prevent Johnson from filling vacancies and by passing a Tenure of Office Act that required the president to seek congressional approval before he appointed or removed cabinet members. When johnson tested the restriction by firing secretary of war Edwin Stanton a supporter of the congressional radicals, the house of reoresentatives impeached him.

There were many organizations and groups that formed after the civil war and one of them were called the KKK. Ther were known as the Ku Klus Klab they were a very violent extremist group. The Klan operated as a vigilante group that targeted newly freed black populations and Republican politicians in the Reconstruction governments of the former Confederacy. It was banned in 1859 and continued to function well into the early 1870s and the federal governments passed a variety of laws and acts to dismantle the Klan that period had some success. Nathan Bedford Forrest was a Confederate cavalry leader. After the war, he served in the Ku Klux Klan but distanced himself from by denying any formal connection. He was responsible for dissolving the first incident of the Klan in 1869.

When Congress assembled in Dexember 1865 Radical Republicans such as Rep Thaddeus Stevens of Pennsylvania and sen Charles Summer from Massachusetts called for the establishment of new southern governments based on equality before the law and universal male suffrage. But the more numerous moderate Republicans hoped to work with Johnson while modifying his program. Congress refused to seat the representatives and senators elected from the southern states and in early 1866 passed the Freedmen’s Bureau and civil rights bills. The Freedmen’s Bureau was a government agency that operated during the period of reconstruction it was created by Lincoln in 1865 with the intention to aid the newly freed population in the south. The Bureau was operated as part of the Department of war and was originally intended to last one year. Its mission was however expanded to include duties such as education and employment of the newly freed population. The Bureau continued to function until 1872 when Congress shut it down.

The aftermath of a long war can be arduous as the fighting itself. Reconstruction was the most volatile peacetime periods in American History. Redel armies may have surrendered but the Confederate people did not. The Republican party in the north may have triumphed but its power was not unrivaled.

The African Americans admired General Howard who was considered a true advocate for black peoples rights and interest. Howard put a strong focus on education, Which he saw as an essential element in improving the lives and prospects of African Americans.By 1869, almost three thousand schools had been established serving over 150,000 students. Considered the crowning achievement of the Freedmen’s Bureau Act.

The reconstruction ara was the biggest impact in American history it is the reason the African Americans are free and its political, social and economic legacy solving the world’s problems.

Did you like this example?

Cite this page

Was Reconstruction a Success or Failure. (2021, Jul 19). Retrieved June 26, 2022 , from

This paper was written and submitted by a fellow student

Our verified experts write
your 100% original paper on any topic

Check Prices

Having doubts about how to write your paper correctly?

Our editors will help you fix any mistakes and get an A+!

Get started
Leave your email and we will send a sample to you.
Go to my inbox