Reconstruction: a Success Only After the Fact Essay examples

1480 Words Mar 7th, 2015 6 Pages
Reconstruction: A Success Only After the Fact
Teresa Gil

Reconstruction, the act of putting the country back together after the divisive and bloody Civil War, is the era from the end of the Civil War until 1877. Because so much was at stake and there were so many variations about how Reconstruction should be accomplished, this was a period of enormous conflict. In the South, the primary battle was between the Planters who dominated the South economically, politically, and socially, and former slaves, who wanted legal and political equality and the ability to own land. In the federal government, the Republican Party was dominant, and the most outspoken group within the Republican Party was known as the Radical Republicans. They
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Their act centered on the fact that lawful governments did not exist in the south and that they should govern the area until acceptable replacements were chosen. This act divided the south into five districts and outlined how new governments would, based on suffrage, be established. This new Reconstruction Act, over President Johnson’s veto, was passed into law. Once a state’s constitution was accepted by the state’s voters and by Congress, and once the state ratified the 14th Amendment, which stated that anyone born in the U.S. was a citizen of the United States, and that all citizens were entitled to equal protection of the laws, then that state could become a functioning part of the Union. By June of 1868, all but three states had completed this process. The 14th Amendment was ratified in July.
Vehemently opposed to the Reconstruction Acts and to Congress calling the shots on Reconstruction, President Johnson attempted to thwart the plan in any way he could. As a result, he was impeached by the House of Representatives in the spring of 1868, and tried before the Senate. He avoided conviction and removal from office, by one vote, but he more or less promised to sit out the rest of his term. In November 1868 Ulysses S. Grant, a Republican and the great northern hero of the Civil War, was elected president. But the election was closer than expected, and Grant would not have won without the votes of former slaves. To protect these votes in the future,

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