How the Failure of Reconstruction Impacted African Americans

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After a war that claimed the lives of more men than that of all other wars combined, much of the country was left in ruins, literally and figuratively. Dozens of towns in the South had been burned to the ground. Meanwhile, the relations between the North and South had crumbled to pieces. Something needed to be done so that the country could once again be the United States of America, not the Divided States of America. The years from 1865 to 1877 were a time of rebuilding – the broken communities and the broken relations. This time period was known as Reconstruction. Reconstruction was a failure on the basis that the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments that were passed should have given protection and freedom to the African American people, instead, it actually hurt them because the laws were not enforced, and eventually lead to the organization of white supremacy terrorist groups. The 13th amendment to the Constitution legally ended slavery, however, one could argue that socially and economically it did not. Once African Americans were free, they had nothing and were given very little. Due to the racist attitudes that were rampant in the South, it was nearly impossible to find anything but low paying, unskilled jobs. Because blacks needed work and plantation owners had vacant land they came to a compromise – sharecropping. Sharecropping was an agreement that in exchange for land, a cabin, and tools, at a very high interest rate, the landowner would receive a portion of the harvest. Although this may sound like a good deal, the high interest rates made the debt nearly impossible to repay, thus once again the African Americans were under control of the white race. The contracts also included clauses that were sim... ... middle of paper ... ...onstruction, the majority of black people continued to be oppressed on every front. Not only were they oppressed, but they were also continually terrorized. Perhaps if the government had interceded and done their job the outcome would have been different. Reconstruction reunited the states of the country, but at the same time it turned the people of the country against each other. Works Cited Clark-Pujara, Christy. "Reconstruction Part I." 11 Nov. 2013. Lecture. Clark-Pujara, Christy. "Reconstruction Part II." 18 Nov. 2013. Lecture. Clark-Pujara, Christy. "The Rise of Jim Crow." 20 Nov. 2013. Lecture. Franklin, John Hope, and Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham. From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans. 9th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2011. Print. "Lynching Victims Senate Apology Resolution." U.S. Senate, 13 June 2005. Web. 24 Nov. 2013.
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