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Reasons Why The South Won Reconstruction

961 words - 4 pages

The Civil War marked a defining moment in United States history. Long simmering sectional tensions reached critical when eleven slaveholding states seceded from the Union and formed the Confederate States of America. Political disagreement gave way to war as the Confederates insisted they had the right to leave the Union, while the loyal states refused to allow them to go. Four years of fighting claimed almost 1.5 million casualties, resulting in a Union victory. Even though the North won the war, they did a horrible job in trying to win the peace, or in other words, the Reconstruction era. Rather than eliminating slavery in the South, the Southerners had a new form of slavery, which was run by a new set of codes called "Black Codes”. With the help of President Johnson, the South continued their plantations, in essence becoming exactly what they were before the war. Overall, the South won Reconstruction because in the end they got slavery (without the name), they got an easy pass back into the Union, and things reverted back to the way they had been prior the war.
After the Civil War, the South needed to rejoin the North to become a United States. President Abraham Lincoln was very lenient with the idea of restoring the states with the Union. He developed a plan called the Ten-Percent Plan, which proclaimed that ten percent of the southern states’ population needed to pledge to be loyal to the United States. After Lincoln’s assassination, President Andrew Johnson took over. He was much more lenient towards the South than Lincoln was, giving the South the right to regulate their actions. For example, African Americans could be controlled, but still couldn’t be bought nor sold. Slavery technically ended, but the new sharecropper system that evolved was no different from slavery. Most blacks in the South were left without land and were forced to work as laborers on large white-owned farms and plantations in order to earn a living. In an effort to regulate the labor force and reassert white supremacy, state legislatures soon passed restrictive legislation that denied blacks legal equality and political rights. These laws would be known to be called “Black Codes”, not so different from the older “slave codes”. With Johnson’s help, the South regained their original system of slavery, beside the fact they couldn’t own blacks.
Being a Southern Democrat, President Andrew Johnson was in favor to the South. He, in opposition to Radical Republicans, agreed with Lincoln’s Ten-Percent Plan and pushed it forward. Johnson’s goal for Reconstruction was to see a speedy restoration of the states, believing that they had never truly left the Union, and thus should again be recognized as loyal citizens to the United States. To Johnson, African-American suffrage was a distraction, and it should be a state’s responsibility to decide who should vote. Johnson, pushing these policies through the...

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