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Was The Reconstruction A Success Or A Failure

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Autor:   •  December 20, 2010  •  957 Words (4 Pages)  •  2,371 Views

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1. Discuss Whether Reconstruction Was a Success or a Failure.

Reconstruction is the period of rebuilding the south that succeeded the Civil War (1861-1865). This period of time is set by the question now what? The Union won the war and most of the south was destroyed. Devastation, buildings turned into crumbles and lost crops. The South was drowning in poverty. To worsen the situation there were thousands of ex-slaves that were set free by the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13 Amendment. "All these ex-slaves", Dr. Susan Walens commented, "and no place to put them," The ex-slaves weren't just homeless but they had no rights, unlike white man. The government and congress had to solve the issues present in the south and the whole nation in order to re-establish the South. These issues were economical, social and political. The United States had presidential and congressional reconstruction. Reconstruction was a failure, a great attempt to unify the nation. It was a failure due to the events that took place during this period.

It was 1865, black men were tasting freedom, the confederation was defeated, the south was defeated but the unchained blacks had no real freedom. "A man maybe free and yet not independent," Mississippi planter Sammuel Agnew observed in his diary (Foner 481). This same year General Sherman issued the Special Field Order 15, in attempt to provide land for the ex-slaves. There was 40 acres of land and a mule waiting for the emancipated slaves, this gave hope for an economic development among blacks' communities. The Special Field Order 15 put all the land under federal control acquired by the government during the war to use for the homestead of the blacks. Even thought the offer of land some slave fled the South into the North for a better life. Those who stayed gave up there land due to the intimidation of the plantation owners, said Dr Walens in lecture. This was working alright until President Johnson, who had preceded Lincoln, order all the land under federal control to be given back to whom they were taken from (Foner). This is a big setback for reconstruction and freed slaves.

The Freedmen Bureau was the federal institution in control of those terrains given to blacks and now they had to take it back. Under the administration of O. O. Howard the bureau functions were to "establish schools, provide aide to the poor and aged, settle disputes between whites and blacks and among freedpeople, and secure for former slave and white Unionist equal treatment before court," (Foner 483). The Bureau did not have enough agents to put in action the task appointed to it in the south. The Freedmen Bureau was dissolved after five years living the black man on its own.

Something that President Johnson did to start the period of Reconstruction was to pardon all Confederates soldiers if they plead loyalty and alliance to the Union. No one was held accountable for what happened, one man was murder. Also he demanded that the states in the south abolish slavery and change their constitution in order to be accepted into the United States. Those were Andrew Johnson terms for Reconstructions. Not very efficient because it leaves all these defeated soldiers, filled with anger and violence in the streets. Then Congress tried to pass the Civil Rights bill and the 14th amendment which would have given the 13th amendment power but Johnson vetoed. But congress when over


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