“Why did the ‘Reconstruction’ of the South prove to be such an all-around failure?”

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In theory, Lincoln’s plan of Reconstruction seemed an efficient way to redeem the South of its devastation. He was willing to give them a break and do far more for the former Confederates than they deserved. Reconstruction proved to be a failure because Southerners regressive and resistant to change. Because of conflicting viewpoints between Andrew Johnson and congress, the false promises of the Reconstruction Amendments and South’s reign of terror on African Americans these efforts were dismantled. A mistake contributing to reconstruction’s failure was Johnson straying from Lincoln’s original Ten Percent Plan which was as follows: “a southern state could be readmitted into the Union once 10 percent of its voters swore an oath of allegiance to the Union. Voters could then elect delegates to draft revised state constitutions and establish new state governments. All southerners except for high-ranking Confederate army officers and government officials would be granted a full pardon.” After Lincoln’s assassination Johnson pardoned all Southerners including government officials. He went as far as pardoning Alexander Stephens, Vice President of the Confederate States of America. He was then elected to the United States Senate by Georgia. Because of Johnson’s terrible decision making Congress went on to pass the Wade-Davis Bill. Basically pushing the Ten Percent Plan to the Fifty Percent Plan, it proposed that now fifty percent of a state had to take the oath in order to be readmitted as a state. It was a battle between Johnson and the Radical Republicans in Congress. During Reconstruction the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth amendments were passed, collectively known as the Reconstruction Amendments. The thirteenth amendment abo... ... middle of paper ... ...ss cracking down on them, the Reconstruction Amendments failing their purpose and a continued suppression of African Americans Reconstruction fell to Southerner’s resistance. Johnson should never have written the Confederates off as lightly as he did, especially their highest ranking men. That was his biggest mistake. He and Congress should have worked harder to protect the now free African Americans. After passing the revolutionary Reconstruction Amendments more should have been done to enforce them and to keep them upheld. There was not much done to protect Freedmen and Republicans after things began to get unjust and even violent. It is a disappointment that it failed because Reconstruction could have done great things. Works Cited http://www.sparknotes.com/history/american/reconstruction/section1.rhtml, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Codes_(United_States)

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