The Reconstruction

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The Reconstruction Reconstruction is defined as the period following the Civil War in which the Republican-dominated Federal government sought to reunite the Union; the measure included drastically remodeling Southern society in order to secure equality and independence for blacks through granting them various freedoms. Many historians believe that in order to fully understand the modern United States, one must understand Reconstruction. Studying it, therefore, has been a top priority amongst historians. Over the years, three main schools of thought have developed concerning Reconstruction. The Dunning School viewed the Northern Republicans as tyrannical leaders who pushed aside the governments in the South set up by Johnson, and viewed the emancipated slaves as incompetent children incapable of handling their newly accumulated freedoms. The Revisionist School, which followed the Dunning School, argued that the Republicans were the liberating heroes, leaving the Southern white supremacists as the villains. The most recent of the three, the Post-Revisionist School, argued that the Radical Republicans were not all that radical. Their policies were too conservative and weak to make any drastic or lasting changes. Through studying these three schools, it can be seen that, regarding any positive short-term effects, Reconstruction can only be see as a failure; however, during Reconstruction, the roots of a black community were planted that would later flourish into the Civil Rights movements of the 1960's and the modern black community. The following paragraphs will discuss it ultimate failure but long-term effects through the arguments... ... middle of paper ... ...construction would eventually build up to become the black community of today. In fact, much of the legal strategy of the Civil Rights Movement was based on Reconstruction laws and Amendments, proof of its lasting influence. Both Foner and Burns agreed that Reconstruction was, in general, a failure. Reconstruction was ultimately too weak; in order to fully succeed, it would have needed to revolutionize Southern society. Foner, however, argues that the black community built during Reconstruction helped build the modern black community. While land redistribution, black education and black suffrage failed and thus failed to help win black autonomy, the laws and Amendments of the Reconstruction helped blacks win their autonomy and, in turn, suffrage, education and economic stability, during the Civil Rights Movement.

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