Free «Reconstruction» Essay Sample

Question 2

After the American Civil War, there emerged a problem of state unity restoration, and restructuring of the South started. The main result of the Civil War was the abolition of slavery in 1865, when the Congress adopted the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution.

The Radical Republicans decided that African Americans must deserve the same rights and political opportunities as people with white skin. Moreover, the leaders of Confederation had to be punished. After the President Lincoln’s death, the differences between the new USA President Andrew Johnson and the Congress exaggerated. Johnson followed the reconciliation policy, and he announced his Reconstruction plans in 1865: “As a result of Johnson’s leniency, many southern states in 1865 and 1866 successfully enacted a series of laws known as the “black codes” for reducing the rights and liberties of blacks and using them as the workforce” (“Reconstruction,” n.d.). Johnson’s policy led to his impeachment in 1868.

Therefore, in 1867, the Congress accepted the Fourteenth Amendment confirming the Radical Reconstruction Act. According to this amendment, all African Americans got equal rights and protection. Moreover, in 1870, the Fifteenth Amendment gave them the right to vote and hold offices. This Reconstruction Law temporarily shared the South on five military regions, and the Congress watched how the state governments implemented equal suffrage.

During this Radical Reconstruction period, African Americans got the rights, and they were a bright example of interracial democracy after the abolition of slavery. The victory of an African American in the elections was the first event in the world history. Blacks could travel by train with Whites, and they could visit restaurants as well. Orphanages, schools, and the other institutions were open for African Americans and their children.

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Some Blacks got the White’s wealth, but the majority remained at the former financial position. They were not adapted to another work as on plantations. Moreover, taxes were very high. The Blacks worked the land in exchange for food; they usually had debt, and it resembled slavery.

In my opinion, Radical Reconstruction was radical, but only for a little time. African Americans became gradually dependent on the Whites again, and racial discrimination persisted for many years. Only in the 20th century, African Americans got really equal rights, and the Black President of the USA became the interracial democracy example.

Question 3

The post-Civil War South was named New South, and it had a difficult period in the American history. The southern and northern part of the USA had simmering tensions and the anti-slavery US President Republican Lincoln’s election caused the appearance of the American Civil War in 1861. The American Confederate States including seven and later four ones separated from the Union. The war lasted till 1865 with the North Victory. It took many people’s lives and caused great devastation to the South. According to Lutz (2015), “More than a million African Americans were refugees, homeless, separated from family during years of slavery, wondering what to do now.” The population of white men was ruined, and the majority was injured. Therefore, they would see the New South after coming.

The southern infrastructure and many cities were destroyed. However, the slaves were free and had political rights, which was a positive effect. The governments would like to open schools for every child, white or black, but money was not enough, and the Reconstruction governments started getting money by taxes. It should be noted that many schools were opened, and it was one of the successes.

One of the negative effects of the Reconstruction was depreciation of land because of big taxes. Slaves were free, but they did not have money and land. Some of them got the land of the Confederate leaders, but many of them got nothing. African Americans started to work in order to pay their debts, and they had debts almost all the time. Gradually, it began to resemble slavery. Historical facts prove that, “Slavery was over. The struggle for equality had just begun” (“Rebuilding the Old Order,” n.d.).

Therefore, the New South had succeeded in reinventing itself in the development of education, cotton cultivation, and using the Blacks’ work. The Black population was not slaves, but for its surviving people had to work hard, and they mostly worked for repayment of their debts. Huge taxes were not entirely successful improvements for the budget revenues.


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