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Debate Over If The Reconstruction Era Was Failure

1579 words - 6 pages

America was divided in two, the south; which promoted the act of slavery and the north; where individuals encouraged the abolishment of the discriminating structure. Despite the differing opinions of the two regions, ‘Louisiana, Arkansas and Tennessee [...] sought readmission to the union’ knowing that they were agreeing to the abolishment of slavery under the Thirteenth Amendment; which abolished slavery, Fourteenth Amendment; that stated all persons born in the states were American citizens and finally the Fifteenth Amendment which highlighted that the a citizen’s right to vote should not be denied, thus achieving one of the aims of Reconstruction.
As a result of those southern states that rejoined the Union, African Americans were legally classed as American citizens, allowing them access to rights that they were previously limited to. For example, in the eyes of the law, ex slaves could, in theory, leave their masters and set up a new home elsewhere. This, however, would be an impossible task considering black Americans were uneducated, making them illiterate, and financially instable with very little money to their name. The issue, to some extent, was solved with the introduction to the Freedman’s Bureau where congress had provided ‘practical aid to 4,000,000 newly freed black Americans’ allowing them the opportunity to survive independently in a new setting. As well as this, African Americans were also introduced to the electorate, having been given the right to vote and take part in societal issues that concerns them thus enabling them to have a political voice that should be taken into account. This further emphasises that Reconstruction was successful, and therefore, should be regarded as such.
Despite the many successes that had occurred due to Reconstruction, it is not easy for historians, or any individual looking at this period, to confidently claim that Reconstruction was a complete success. Though, one of the aims of Lincolns plan was achieved there was still the question of what to do with the salves and their freedom, an issue that was not as adequately solved as the problem surrounding the divided sates. For example, even though black Americans, in the eyes of the law, were granted citizenship and awarded the same rights as white Americans this was not a de facto change in the political sense. This is referring to the fact that African Americans were still prohibited from actually talking part in the voting system. Most southern states had become very judgmental on who could actually vote and adopted various vices that enabled them to reduce the electorate, discriminating against race via various laws and regulations. One of the vices used to prevent African Americans from voting was the Grandfather Clause, which stated that in order to vote an individual’s ancestors must be American, a requirement that would be impossible for black Americans to prove. Furthermore, registrars and those in control of local voting...

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