How Successful Was The Reconstruction Era

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The period of reincorporating Southern states into the Union is known as Reconstruction, as it followed the defeat of Confederate soldiers in the Civil War. Officially it began in 1863 and lasted until 1877. The main aim was to reunite a nation with divided convictions and improve the position of African Americans, post abolition of slavery, economically and socially. It can be argued that Reconstruction failed as the legislation passed was ambiguous and was manipulated to continue disenfranchising African Americans and was hypocritical of its aims. Such as the Black Codes, that promoted legal, political, economic and social unequal treatment of African Americans. Although it acted as a turning point for the status of African Americans, granting …show more content…
The 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments were verifying the fact that African Americans were deserving of civil rights and that they would be considered in the US constitution. The abolition of slavery in 1865, the granting of all US citizens equal protection under the law in 1868 and the granting all US male citizens the right to vote were all major steps in the right direction to improve the socio-economic position of African Americans in society. As they outlawed discrimination, these laws proved to African Americans that they could do anything and could become an integral part of communities across America. It can be argued that these pieces of legislation set a precedent for later reforms as Congressional Reconstruction led to more radical changes than any other period for at least a century. Nevertheless, there were many faults with how Reconstruction attempted to reunify the former Confederate states into the Union. Militarisation became an indispensable part of how the US government operated – as white violence became an acceptable part of Southern life – more troops were deployed to suppress unrest and lawlessness. In theory, laws that protected individuals’ civil rights were placed to guarantee the fair treatment of African people, but there was no political will to enforce them by a strong …show more content…
Such as the Black Codes, which were highly discriminatory Southern states’ laws to control freed slaves and keep white supremacy in place by restricting their right to work in integrated institutions, by giving states the right to punish vagrants or return them to forced servitude, and possibly the most unfavourable law, allowing those who attacked African Americans to walk free without being convicted or indicted of any crime, Southern governments tacitly condoned violence in fact. These laws were ratified by the sympathetic President Johnson – he was a War Democrat and did not support the concept of Reconstruction, often it is argued that Johnson did nothing for the enhancement of the standard of life for African Americans. However, Reconstruction was significant as it offered freedom for some 4 million slaves even though they were far from equal as they faced hostility from white Americans. Reconstruction was vital to the beginning of the civil rights movement as it allowed some key figures to commence preaching their ideologies which differed, some aimed for segregation while others aimed for integration, some took on more violent and direct methods of oppositions while others used peaceful techniques.
As debated in this essay, Congressional Reconstruction

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