Andrew Johnson, who became President of the U.S. in 1865, had his own Reconstruction plan, but it turned out to be unsuccessful largely because of the unfair ways in which blacks were treated. According to his plan, pardons would be offered to all southern whites except wealthy Confederate supporters and the main Confederate leaders. Conventions were to be held by the defeated southern states and new state governments were to be formed. These new governments had to make a vow of loyalty to the nation and abolish slavery in order to rejoin the Union. However, this plan did not offer the blacks a role in this process; he left the responsibility of determining the black people’s roles to the southern states.
Having a president that was formerly a slave owner and opposed the rights of freed men as well a weak central government that was in a state of disorder thus caused a failure to put an end to segregation and integrate freed African Americans into society; instead they were seen as second class citizens that had limited rights and were still discriminated even more harshly by bitter Southerners. On paper, the Reconstruction had a lot going for it. Lincoln had proposed his ten percent plan. This plan would allow the Southern states to reenter the Union if each state redrafted its constitution and at least ten percent of all eligible voters in that state pledged an oath of allegiance to the United States. This plan seemed promising because it was easy access back into the union but Lincoln was assassinated before the plan could be implemented.
Following Grant’s unenthusiastic approach to protecting blacks in the South, the executive branch gradually made its position on the issue clear in 1876. (Zinn, 199) When Hayes beat Tilden in the presidential election by promising to end the Reconstruction in the South, it was evident that the White House would no longer support any calls for the protection of blacks. The compromise of 1877 brought Hayes to office, but “doomed the black man to a second class citizenship that was to be his lot for nearly a century afterward,'; (Davis, 160). The Radical Republican’s in Congress, who were responsible for freeing the blacks, were also responsible for letting their voices become silenced. This occurred as the other, more industrial, interests of the broad based party dominated their platform; leaving the blacks to face the wrath of the Southerners.
The free-states and Republicans would soon gain enough power to abolish slavery in the South. The slave states would no longer have power anymore. I... ... middle of paper ... ... for the prohibition of denying suffrage to any citizen just because of their “race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” The Congress used its power to override President Johnson’s vetoes and thwart some of his attempts to interfere with blacks’ rights. When the Congress passed an act to extend the life of the Freedmen’s Bureau and gave it powers to nullify work agreements forced on the freedmen under the Black Codes, Johnson vetoed the bill. When the Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which granted citizenship to the blacks of the United States and gave the federal government power to protect citizens’ rights by interfering in state affairs, Johnson vetoed it as well.
Presidential reconstruction was giving African Americans civil rights, but they were denied to vote and President Andrew Johnson, the president after Lincoln, established black codes. Congressional reconstruction was when the Republican Party rejected President Johnson’s vetoes of the civil rights bill
Black Status: Post Civil War America After the emancipation of slaves in 1862, the status of African-Americans in post civil war America up until the beginning of the twentieth century did not go through a great deal of change. Much legislation was passed to help blacks in this period. The Civil Rights act of 1875 prohibited segregation in public facilities and various government amendments gave African-Americans even more guaranteed rights. Even with this government legislation, the newly dubbed 'freedmen' were still discriminated against by most people and, ironically, they were soon to be restricted and segregated once again under government rulings in important court cases of the era. Reconstruction was intended to give African-Americans the chance for a new and better life.
Many of the southern states in 1865 under presidential reconstruction adopted what was known as black codes. These codes restricted blacks from any participation in the rights of citizenship. Blacks were confined to an inferior position, they were not legally slaves anymore, but they had no rights of citizenship. When congress reconvened in December of 1865, they refused to accept the delegations from southern states. The radical republicans in congress designed a serious of acts known as the reconstruction acts to implement their program in the south.
Nevertheless, many eligible black citizens were prevented from voting; especially in the Southern states of America. Long-standing Southern congressmen exploited their authority to halt legislation that would help blacks. The power of the state governments allowed the continuation of white supremacy and discrimination; the state governments controlled education, transportation and law enforcement. As a result, enfranchisement did not bring greater equality to the black community in America. However, external events such as the two World Wars and the Great Depression encouraged greater equality between blacks and whites.
Another factor which made it harder for freed slaves to enter the society was the Ku Klux Klan organization, which can be described as “Original American Terrorist Organizations”. Most white’s southern viewed literacy, political equality, or any advancement for blacks as a loss to whites. (3) Terrorist groups like the Klan, the Knights of the White Camelia, the Red Shirts, and several others formed during Reconstruction to maintain the preexisting social order of white supremacy in the South. Black Americans had to suffer a lot, but still later on they
Reconstruction made the nation as a whole feel ‘reunited’, but it was viewed as a failure and waste immediately after its completion (Boyer, 471). It laid the groundwork for the Civil Rights Movement by passing the 13, 14, and 15th amendments, even though they would not be implemented to protect minority rights for nearly a hundred years. Reconstruction also established a policy of treating African-Americans as second-class citizens. The nation was taught that it was alright to treat blacks as inferior people because the government would not even guarantee them the right to vote in state elections. However, Reconstruction did pave the way for share-cropping and the factory system, which would lead to an economic boom as American expanded.