The Pros And Cons Of Reconstruction

explanatory Essay
1165 words
1165 words

Reconstruction was the period that followed the American Civil War in which attempts were made to amend the wrongs of slavery and the political, economical and social problems that were caused. When Andrew Johnson became president in 1865, he began the period of Presidential Reconstruction. He offered a pardon to all southerners, except wealthy planters and Confederate leaders by giving them full political rights and returning their property (Gilmore). He required the new state governments to abolish slavery, abandon secession and revoke the Confederate debt but other than that they were allowed to freely manage their affairs (Bartley). The southern governments responded to this by creating the black codes, which forced African Americans …show more content…

In this essay, the author

  • Describes the period of presidential reconstruction that followed the american civil war.
  • Explains that after reconstruction, there remained constant racial tension which led to unfair discrimination and proved that the "new south" was not actually new.
  • Explains that the southern economic development after reconstruction faced many difficulties including few towns and cities, lack of currency, slow technological development, northern control over the markets, high protective tariffs, and an educated workforce.
  • Explains that northern financing dominated the southern economy, even more so than during the war. many of the profits made by these companies went into the northern economy while the south was left with no economic stability.

It was agreed upon by the Republicans that the only way the southern states would be welcomed back into the Union was if they ratified the Fourteenth Amendment but then President Johnson told the states that they should ignore this law and not pass it. Congress had the majority of votes that were in favor of the southern states adopting the amendment so it was put into law. The last congressional Reconstruction measure that was passed was the Civil Rights Act of 1875, which prohibited racial discrimination in transportation, restaurants and jury selection. Unfortunately it did not guarantee equality in schools, churches or cemeteries so it led to many problems in the future. After the end of Reconstruction, the idea of the “New South” arose and the main advocate of this was Henry Grady, editor for the Atlanta Constitution (Grem). The "New South" was promoted by southern leaders as a way to lessen Northern influence on Southern affairs right after the Civil War but remained a dream and not a reality. Due to racial tensions, poor economic practices, and a divided political stance the South was prevented from achieving full equality and prosperity, even up to …show more content…

White southerners believed that black people should keep to themselves, socialize and go to church in different locations and work for white people in servile jobs and for low wages. After slavery was abolished Africans lost their shelters and white southerners lost their work force. In response to this, the white men became landlords that charged high rent to slave families who did not have the ability to pay with cash. The former slaves turned into indentured servants as they tried to pay off their debt through services, which was ultimately an unattainable task due to the high interest that was tacked on (Wiener). Due to the Fifteenth Amendment the Redeemers, who were southerners who wanted to prevent equality for slaves, had to sneak around to disfranchise blacks. The Redeemers developed voting rules for each state called “literacy tests,” even though they were impossible to pass and just created to get rid of African American voters. They also required a poll tax to be paid because they knew that most blacks would not have earned enough money to pay for voting. Proponents of the “New South” promoted the “Separate but Equal” motto and under this, segregation of blacks and whites became normal as long as each race had “equal” facilities (Literacy Test and Poll Tax). Even though blacks and whites

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