Johnson then once again gave the Southern states freedom to run their state governments. People believed that Johnson was ignoring the former slaves’ rights. This became more and more evident, as the Black Codes began to form in the South. These were the many laws confining the African Americans to what some thought to be slavery except in name. In 1865, when Johnson declared reconstruction to be over, many Republicans, appalled at this, took action by refusing to seat Southerners that had recently been elected into Congress.
Even though slavery was now prohibited, freed blacks were now left alone to struggle finding simple things like a roof to live in and a job to work for. Meanwhile, President Abraham Lincoln wanted to give the south humane conditions for them to be accepted back into the union and also wanted to give African Americans and former soldiers the right to vote, but that wasn’t very successful when put into the hands of Congress. Soon after Lincoln was killed in 1865, President Andrew Johnson came into presidency and changed the conditions giving African Americans a harder time adapting to their new lives as freedmen. Furthermore, the south became very violent against the blacks and came up with black codes, which put freed blacks as closely as possible back into a slave state. These black codes prohibited interracial marriages, the ownership of guns or liquor, congregation in large groups and had curfews for these freedmen.
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 period of rebuilding after the Civil War was termed the Era of Reconstruction. During this period the government was supposed to help build back the South and strengthen the Union. The government, however, failed to help the South complete the transition into life without slavery. The government disregarded the treatment of African Americans and allowed the South to continue to treat them badly. The government also failed to help stabilize the economy for the South, and the political situation was filled with distrust and corruption.
However, despite having the cold Civil War in the 1860s, all the effort to gain a “new birth of freedom” went in vain. Although the North were advance than the South and were to defeat them in the war, they had in reality lost. By the 1880s, the South had defeated the weakened North and had re-enslaved the African American. After the Civil war, the American government had passed many amendments to insure the rights of African American but all went in vain, as the South did not follow them. Document A shows that Amendment XIII, which was passed in 1865 right after the Civil War, prohibited the use of slavery within the US.
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.
Although Lincoln’s plan may have been too lenient, this bill would have been far too harsh and delayed readmission to the Union for a very long time. Lincoln did not sign the bill into law, or pocket-vetoed the bill, and was soon assassinated. Therefore, he did not have a chance to implement his plan of Reconstruction, and his goal was not met. After Andrew Johnson assumed the presidency following Lincoln’s assassination in ... ... middle of paper ... ...n did create black institutions in response to Reconstruction; there was a cropping up of black churches, schools, and higher education establishments (Boyer 458). Reconstruction made the nation as a whole feel ‘reunited’, but it was viewed as a failure and waste immediately after its completion (Boyer, 471).
The survival of the vice president allowed Andrew Johnson to become the 17th president of the United States, he assumed office directly after Abraham Lincoln died. Johnson and the U. S. Congress butted heads on many issues. One of the issues being reconstruction. Johnson rejected the idea of a radical for of reconstruction, a plan that Lincoln had full support of. In 1865 most states had been done with reconstruction, but southern states were enacting black codes, which greatly inhibited African Americans from voting, and Johnson did not do much to stope these codes.
Reconstruction was not a success because it resulted in the implementation of the Black Codes, the formation of the Klu Klux Klan, and the failure of the Freedmen's Bureau. The Civil War left the South destroyed and , as a reunited country, the government was tasked with developing a strategy for reconnecting the North and South and rebuilding the land destroyed by the battles. President Abraham Lincoln presented a method for reconstruction, but upon his death, the idea was abandoned. Lincoln's vice president, Andrew Johnson presented another theory that was also dismissed. To begin work on reconstruction in 1865, the Freedmen's Bureau was formed as a welfare agency that educated free blacks and promised to give all former slaves forty acres of ex-Confederate land.
In conclusion, Reconstruction failed for the freedmen for a variety of reasons. I believe the main reason for this failure was the inability for the two political parties to agree on what they wanted to achieve. Did they want total freedom for the freed slaves, only partial freedom, or just the rebuilding that issue coupled with unpopularity, the freedman’s culture being rooted in the south, and the freed slaves’ inability to find work outside of the south resulted in a process that took over a century to work successfully. I feel that it is very unfortunate that President Lincoln was killed so shortly after the end of the Civil War. I believe that since Reconstruction was Lincoln’s idea he would have carried it out more successfully than his successors did.