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Dangerous Reconstruction Essay

1509 words - 7 pages

After the last round was fired and the last body was buried the post civil war United States south was in shambles and the newly appointed president (via murder) was put into office, and it was his job to rebuild the south in a way that reflected its tragic past. An important part of his job was what he would do with the newly free slave population, slaves that had once worked on cotton plantation were now free to do what they pleased and it was Johnson’s job to reconstruct the south around this fact. Andrew Johnson’s presidential reconstruction was an important part of post civil war, but his actions, beliefs and circumstances directly and purposefully repressed the development of civil rights for newly freed African American’s!
Andrew Johnson desire to have an easy fast restoration to union to his southern counterparts further hurt the chances of civil rights for African Americans to be established. It was 1865 and these African Americans had just been freed and the thought of saying that they were equal to whites horrified and discussed many white people. And Johnson unwillingness to slow down the reconstruction process was a complete determinate to the African Americans who wanted and deserved civil rights. In the Pbs video “American experience-reconstruction” historian blight refers to this by saying “There was good evidence in 1865 that a lot of white Southerners, the leadership even of the Confederacy, would have accepted relatively harsh policies at that moment. But very soon it became clear that Andrew Johnson wanted a rapid, lenient restoration of the Union with as little alteration of the Constitution and the creation of black civil and political rights as possible”. This shows us that black civil rights was on the back burner for Andrew Johnson and he only wanted to pursue it if it was possible, even the southerners expected it to be a mandatory thing but in his hurry to restore the union Johnson makes his first huge blunder and avoids the vary reason he went to war in the first place. It started to become obvious that Johnson did not care for African Americans but instead just wanted to bring the white south and the white north back together. Another great example of this is when the president took back all the land that the southern people once had but now was owned by African Americans. Like it said in the movie Reconstruction “ The President ordered that Confederate lands seized by Union troops during the war be returned to the planters, including land confiscated under General Sherman's Field Order 15”. This made highly popular among African Americans island St. Catharine’s property of former slave owner again and pushed blacks away from having there own independence. At St. Catharine’s we know that African Americans were developing their own societies and were creating their own local government and making strides to independence. But Andrew Johnson did not let them keep the lands they worked hard on as slaves instead he gave...

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