Failure Of Reconstruction

1382 Words 6 Pages
Six hundred and twenty thousand men died in the American Civil War, the bloodiest conflict in United States history. Brother fought brother and father fought son in the conflict that split the nation in half over slavery. One hundred fifty three years since the end of the Civil War, racism still persists throughout American society. Why, after all these years, does hate continue to pervade this great nation? Why was this disgrace not dealt with immediately after the Civil War, during Reconstruction? What went wrong along the way? As the Era of Reconstruction began in the latter half of the 1860s, the Union was forced to confront the following question: Who is an American? Would former Confederates be rewarded with full citizenship …show more content…
The disinterested attitude towards the plight of blacks allowed Reconstruction to end and Jim Crow to take its place. Northern complicity betrayed freed slaves who had just gained liberty. One of the earliest events that contributed to waning support of blacks’ rights was the Panic of 1873. Since the Market Revolution, banks had invested heavily in railroads. Due to a lack of regulations, fraud ran rampant in the banking system, culminating in a market crash in 1873. Over the course of a five year depression, millions lost their jobs and thousands of companies shut their doors. As occurs in every economic crisis, society turns ugly. This phenomenon can be seen over the course of history, from the Great Depression to the rise of Hitler post-World War One. The economic anxiety of the 1870s created an atmosphere of resentment and division which would soon allow for the end of Reconstruction. Northern factory workers, who had long dreaded a free black labor force, turned against ex-slaves due the lackluster economy and dwindling employment opportunities. Understandably, they wanted to keep their jobs. Simultaneously, growing government power worried factory owners, who too turned against ex-slaves. The Civil War and Reconstruction resulted in an unprecedented increase of federal power. Factory owners worried about an increase in burdensome regulations because of growing government authority. As such, the business community’s views on ex-slaves’ rights began to change. In both the North and the South, as Reconstruction came to a close, the perception of the “Negro” also changed. During the days of slavery, the slaveholding aristocracy painted blacks as loyal, dutiful beings. Now, in an effort to justify oppression post-Reconstruction, they were demonized as criminal liars. To maintain political power, wealthy whites in the South

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