Reconstruction After The Civil War Essay

1094 words - 4 pages

The Civil War ended in 1865 with the defeat of the notorious slave states of the South. For the next ten years, the reconstruction of the southern states took place. Reconstruction could have been a great era of American History, with strong bold presidents that secured everyone's freedom and all, despite of race or color could live in complete harmony. Yet in truth, the Reconstruction of the South after the Civil War proved to be highly unsuccessful, as Reconstruction returned the South to a similar, if not worse, status as before the war, and blacks, though with some civil rights now, were far from being able to live in equilibrium with whites.No one can characterize Reconstruction as a success. The epidemic of terror and violence made it one of the bloodiest eras in American history. Thousands of black people had been beaten, raped, and murdered since 1865, simply because they had acted as free people. Too many white people were determined that black people could not and would not have the same rights that white people enjoyed. White Southerners would not tolerate either the presence of black men in politics or white Republicans who accepted black political involvement. Gradually most white Northerners and even radical Republicans grew very weary of intervening in southern affairs and became convinced again that black men and women were their inferiors and were not prepared to participate in government. Reconstruction, they concluded, had been a mistake. Furthermore, black and white Republicans hurt themselves by indulging in fraud and corruption, and by engaging in angry and divisive factionalism. But even if Republicans had been honest and united, white southern Democrats would never have accepted black people as worthy to participate in the political system.Despite its overthrow, Reconstruction left an important legacy: commitment to a republican society based on equality under the law, as exemplified in the Reconstruction-era legislation that remained on the books even when unenforced. A century later, during the civil rights movement, Americans, both black and white, would build on that legacy, as they renewed their struggle for equality.The first reason that the Reconstruction of the South was not effective was that Southern society had little changed since the days prior to the Civil War. Though theoretically the black population were no longer "slaves", they were still treated so. A radical group called the Ku Klux Klan or KKK was formed in Pulaski, Tennessee in 1866. Led by former Confederate general Nathan Forrest, in just a few years they emerged as the principle underground organization against blacks and their white supporters through violence, and were responsible for returning the states of Tennessee, Georgia, and North Carolina back to white rule. Blacks did get the right to vote through radical reconstruction, yet, even though they were able to vote, they were made to vote for a certain person, or they were beaten by Klan...

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