Assessing the Failure of Reconstruction

Published: 2021-07-01 04:35:04
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Category: American Civil War

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A well-known period in the American history known as Reconstruction mainly refers to the times when American nation as such was constructed; the Union managed to stay preserved, and slaves were freed. However, besides those positive aspects, this page in the history left certain controversial, and in some cases, negative implications, which could be noted from the long-term historical perspective. The lack of political integration of recently liberated slaves led to racial segregation so that African Americans were marginalized in numerous political aspects of life in the country. Thus, political and civil liberties for white Americans and African Americans were not achieved on the equal level for the two parts of the population of the same nation.
The Failure of Political Integration
One of the primary implications for the failure of Reconstruction may be illustrated by the lack of political actions as well as the lack of political understanding of political peculiarities. The first and foremost action that had to be taken on the political level was bringing of the South back into the political arena on equal footing. Actions related to reviving their economy were also required, as the landscape was shattered drastically during the war. However, one could note the presence of divisions among the American government over the policies that should have been taken after the Reconstruction. One of the proposals launched by the President Abraham Lincoln referred to the 10% plan, which offered a plan for the Southern States to join the Union.
However, after the assassination of President Lincoln, the political line taken by the newly elected President Andrew Johnson, who was a former owner of slaves, was based on the different plan regarding the Reconstruction. Initially, the plan proposed by the newly elected President worked and was accepted within the political leadership. However, the Republicans whose presence dominated the Congress refused to sit in the Southern states. Besides, there were certain divisions within the Republican party itself not only related to the issue of Reconstruction. The position held by moderates and conservatives was targeted at the rapid admission of the South into the Union and Congress. Respectfully, the position of Republicans was based on the will of the rapid reforms, which were provided by President Johnson. However, the radical part of the Republican party called on the following vision of the fate of the South: “remake the South in the image of the North.” Evidently, the present tensions among the Republican party and differences in views regarding the integration of the region from the presidential point of view did not favor the rapid progress, which was indeed needed at that time. Besides that, the President Andrew Johnson even faced the trial regarding the issues. Thus, the divisions among political leadership of the ruling parties led to the lack of actions regarding Southern regions.
Economic Implications after the Civil War
No less important is to analyze the economic dimension of the failure of Reconstruction at the time. It is certainly notable that after the Civil War, Northern regions faced the great economic prosperity after the war. Notably, the infrastructure was being constructed in the North (the first transcontinental railroad was completed), the industrial output faced skyrocketing prosperity, too. Contrary to the economic book in the North, significant economic divisions could be noted in the South. The shattered landscape and lack of the financial incomes from the federal government led to the social, and namely racial segregation. Thus, the economic outcomes shall be reviewed in the complex perspective, where the social division was driven by economic aspects. Especially, the unsuccessful integration was particularly notable in the 1880s when historians compared the level of disparities between the regions of North and South to the areas of Russia and Germany in Europe. Among historians, one shall mention that W.E.B. Du Bois, who mentioned the presence of “black consciousness” in the course of the events, that were illuminated by social and economic injustice.
The Integration of Slaves into Society
No less important aspect that marked the failure of the Reconstruction was the integration of the Southern states from the social perspective. Namely, one could note the lack of people-to-people contact due to the absence of infrastructure and connections. Furthermore, no efforts were made from the political elite to combine the population of the two regions, even though they belonged to the same country. Therefore, the liberation of slaves did not carry automatic connotations for equality in the society. One century later, it could be noted on the example of the movement, launched by Martin Luther King where the African American population voiced its voices their voices. Furthermore, the implications of the will of the Black people decades later had to ensure that their political freedoms were equal to those of the rest of the white population in Northern Regions.
To sum up, one shall mention that the failure of American Reconstruction was accompanied with multiple implications in different areas. Namely, there was a lack of political action and divisions within the political leadership that led to the lack of measures related to integrations. Besides, the economic implications illustrated a significantly better development of the Northern regions in comparison to Southern states, which were damaged by war. Finally, the factor of social segregation that was notable between white and African American population evidenced the failure of American Reconstruction.

References,. “The Civil Rights Bill Of 1866 | US House Of Representatives: History, Art & Archives”. N.p., 2016. Web. 22 Jan. 2016.,. “Virginia Law”. N.p., 2016. Web. 22 Jan. 2016.,. “Booker T. Washington Delivers The 1895 Atlanta Compromise Speech”. N.p., 2016. Web. 22 Jan. 2016.,. “Primary Source: The Fear Of Slave Revolt : The Colonial Williamsburg Official History & Citizenship Site”. N.p., 2016. Web. 22 Jan. 2016.

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