Race And Reunion: Reconstruction After The Civil War

1098 Words 5 Pages
John Mayen
History 101
Mr. Anderson
February 4, 2015
Blight Revisited The end of the civil war left the United States a mess. Many questions arose after the civil war like how the south would be reunited back with the union, who would receive justice, and how slaves would be emancipated and given equal rights. These questions led to twin goals and competing interests because the war’s original goals were clouded with that of reconciliation after the war. After the war it is seen that people like the radical republicans no longer have any interest in emancipating slaves once the compromise of 1877 occurs. Troops are also taken out of the South in order to help reunite the union. In the book, Race and Reunion by David W. Blight, the aftermath
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The major competing goals that were present were goals that regarded healing and goals that regarded justice. In videos recorded of Blight he states, “The two main goals after the civil war were healing and on the other hand justice. The south had to be reunited some way with the union. 11 states had to be redefined and readmitted to the union. But the other great challenge was the challenge of justice. But the other great question was justice for whom”(David Blight on the Civil War in American Memory, Part 2)? In this quote Blight simplifies the leading competing goals. These big questions were very important during reconstruction because the United States was left devastated after the war. White southerners’ land was burned down, white northerners’ families were killed, slaves were still not eligible to do some things that white citizens could do, etc. Who would be given justice? The people who the war’s cause was intended for or the victims during the war? These were conflicting goals that faced many Americans during reconstruction. Healing was also another main goal that was brought up during this time period. The country had to be healed and be brought back together. Logically, if the country was never healed then the war would never end because the United States would still be broken. Now these two goals were conflicting because there’s no way you could have both …show more content…
Many of the emancipation goals, although, were met. For example, the Thirteenth,, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth amendments were passed. The thirteenth amendment basically emancipated the slaves. The fourteenth amendment made sure that all persons born in the United States are automatically citizens and that states must respect the rights of all citizens no matter race or color. The fourteenth amendment was passed/won as a precautionary measure because republicans were scared that the south would one day control congress and nullify this amendment. Congress made a right decision doing this because sure enough the south had rejected this amendment and would not accept it. Johnson even encouraged these states to not accept the law. Bailey states, “And I don’t want no pardon for what I was or am, I won’t be reconstructed and I don’t give a damn” (Bailey, 523). This quote can be used as evidence to show the South’s “competing intentions” with congress because congress wanted to make advances in racial equality, while the southerners did not and that is expressed in this song. Some goals, however, were not fully met during the period of reconstruction. For example, freed slaves could still not vote once they were made citizens. This was not necessarily because there were laws that prevented them to (although there was a point when there were), but it was because southerners would place

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