Reconstruction: Small Win or Big Loss?

1225 Words5 Pages
So close you can almost taste it! In so many words this may have been the initial feeling of African American people on the topic of freedom between two of the most critical periods in the history of the race. Reconstruction, known as the period following closely after the Civil War, was made up of three major initiatives: restoration of the Union, transformation of southern society, and passing of progressive legislation favoring the rights of freed slaves. This period, undoubtedly, provided countless changes and progress in the struggle for African American rights but was cut a little too short by the presidential election of 1876. This election introduced what would soon become known as the Redemption period. This was believed to be the period of African American history that would become known as the beginning of a century of racism and discrimination. How is it possible to take, what most would consider, a complete turn for the worst in such a short amount of time? Does the occurrence of the Redemption period classify Reconstruction as a failure? Although the Redemption period existed, the contributions of Reconstruction must not go unrecognized for all that they helped accomplish. The period should not be recognized as a failure, but rather a step closer towards the freedom that was sought for over a century. Something I personally agree is indeed a success. Honest Abe is the person most people credit for the beginning of the Reconstruction period. Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth president of the United States, was a strong advocate in the abolishment of slavery and eventually accomplished the task of abolishment. In 1863 Lincoln introduced the Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction, a plan to reunite the once united stat... ... middle of paper ... ...e claims were indeed invalid. This period of extreme racism and discrimination started by the Redemption would continue for a almost a century. So again I ask, was the Reconstruction period a failure? From personal opinion it was not a complete failure, but it undeniably could have been better. Reconstruction was a success because it reestablished the United States as a unified nation: all of the former Confederate states had prepared new constitutions, recognized the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments, and swore their allegiance to the U.S. government. Although this is so, it came to a close with many of its goals still left unaccomplished. Northerners were tired of reconstruction, radicals, and the fight for blacks’ rights allowing the period of Redemption to exist. Just like that the freedom that was so close they could taste it, was snatched away.
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