Following the Civil War, America underwent many changes during the Reconstruction era to reach where it needed to be or where it should’ve been. The purpose of reconstruction was to rebuild the South after the Union’s victory in the war that freed all the slaves the South had and needed. During this period, there were ratifications of amendments, social and economic factors that affected African Africans, and the end of reconstruction.
After the Civil War, the United States had a total transformation. The country used to be mainly agricultural, but by the late 1800’s it became the world's leading industrial nation. Railroads and new inventions emerged rapidly along with big businesses. Huge corporations controlled the economy and a large amount of job opportunities emerged. Sadly, workers were mistreated and the workplace was a dangerous place to be, but that did not stop the average people from fighting for their rights. New political ideas came about and the United States turned upside down into a whole new era.
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.
In the later 1800’s, the Civil War and the time of Reconstruction brought huge differences in America. After the Declaration of Independence, many social changes were needed to protect the rights of all people, no matter their race. The result of the war and Reconstruction changed the landscape in America politically, socially, and also economically. , document A over a speech in congress on new banking and currency strategies, an economic adjustment is present. In Document B, Document C, Document D, Document G, and Document H, the tremendous social change that happened in America is present.
Reconstruction is known as the period after the Civil war. The whole country was separated in two, people didn’t know what to do, the south was completely destroyed, and there were a lot of decisions to be made by the president. It lasted four years, and there was over half a million casualties between the union (North) and the confederate states (South). The north was declared the winner of the war after General Lee surrender in the Appomattox court house on April 9, 1865. The causes of the war was the secession of several southern states, they argued that it was up to them and it was in their rights to decide whether they should make slavery legal or illegal in their own boundaries. But the Union had other things in mind, the union wanted to decide whether or not the states were going to have slaves. This was just to make sure the country was equal on slavery and non-slavery on both sides, but states thought the union was abusing their power and being too strict on them, and that is when they decided to secede. The first state to secede was south Carolina, then they were followed by six other states, among those states were Florida, Texas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. These states got together and created the confederate states of America in February 4, 1861, and the president was Jefferson Davis, they also made a government similar to the one of the U.S. Constitution.
Reconstruction: A Partial Success and a Partial Failure
After the Civil War ended in 1865, it was followed by an era known as Reconstruction that lasted until 1877, with the goal to rebuild the nation. Lincoln was the president at the beginning of this era, until his assassination caused his vice president, Andrew Johnson to take his place in 1865. Johnson was faced with numerous issues such as the reunification of the union and the unknown status of the ex-slaves, while compromising between the principles of the Republican Party and the Democratic Party. After the Election of 1868, Ulysses S. Grant, a former war hero with no political experience, became the nation’s new president, but was involved in numerous acts of corruption.
After the civil war, especially during the late 1800s, the US industrial economy has been thriving and booming which reflected on the numerous improvements that occurred in transportation through new railroad, in new markets for new invented goods and in the increased farm yield. However, most of this wealth has been captured by the capitalists, they looked down on the working poor class and expected them to submit to them. Also, they had control over the government seeking to maintain a system of monopoly to allow them to grow richer from others. Thus, they were controlling both political and economic conditions of the country.
The Meaning of Reconstruction
America has gone through many hardships and struggles since coming together as a nation involving war and changes in the political system. Many highly regarded leaders in America have come bestowing their own ideas and foundation to provide a better life for “Americans”, but no other war or political change is more infamous than the civil war and reconstruction. Reconstruction started in 1865 and ended in 1877 and still to date one of the most debated issues in American history on whether reconstruction was a failure or success as well as a contest over the memory, meaning, and ending of the war. According to, “Major Problems in American History” David W. Blight of Yale University and Steven Hahn of the University of Pennsylvania take different stances on the meaning of reconstruction, and what caused its demise. David W. Blight argues that reconstruction was a conflict between two solely significant, but incompatible objectives that “vied” for attention both reconciliation and emancipation.
During the time period of 1860 and 1877 many major changes occurred. From the beginning of the civil war to the fall of the reconstruction, the United States changed dramatically. Nearly one hundred years after the Declaration of Independence which declared all men equal, many social and constitutional alterations were necessary to protect the rights of all people, no matter their race. These social and constitutional developments that were made during 1860 to 1877 were so drastic it could be called a revolution.
The period between 1880 and 1900 was a boom time for American Politics. The country was finally free of the threat of war, and many of its citizens were living comfortably. However, as these two decades went by, the American farmer found it harder and harder to live comfortably. Crops such as cotton and wheat, once the sustenance of the agriculture industry, were selling at prices so low that it was nearly impossible for farmers to make a profit off them. Furthermore, improvement in transportation allowed foreign competition to materialize, making it harder for American farmers to dispose of surplus crop. Mother Nature was also showing no mercy with grasshoppers, floods, and major droughts that led to a downward spiral of business that devastated many of the nation’s farmers. As a result of the agricultural depression, numerous farms groups, most notably the Populist Party, arose to fight what the farmers saw as the reasons for the decline in agriculture. During the final twenty years of the nineteenth century, many farmers in the United States saw monopolies and trusts, railroads, and money shortages and the loss in value of silver as threats to their way of life, all of which could be recognized as valid complaints.