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The Failure Of Reconstruction Essay

679 words - 3 pages

Shannon,
The original purpose of Reconstruction was to restore the buildings and the economy of the south the best they could, but without the immoral element of slavery. But, reconstruction under the Johnson Presidency was a failure for a few reasons: 1) Convict Leasing, 2) Sharecropping, 3) the Ku Klux Klan, 4) Segregation in schools, even in the North, 5) Carpetbaggers/Scalawags, 6) misleading statistics, and 7) racism.
Convict Leasing was started when lawmakers saw a loop hole in the Thirteenth Amendment, which stated that with the exception of punishment for a crime, slavery was abolished. Fourteen thousand dollars was earned in Alabama through convict leasing Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), 2012). And since no efforts were made to eliminate this law, revenue was allowed to soar to one hundred and six-four thousand dollars in 1890, setting an unhealthy precedent for the rest of the south. All a person had to do was start any form of business, and they would be eligible to “lease” or “borrow” workers who had supposedly broken the law. Moreover, the “convicts” could not go on strike due to extended hours and hazardous working conditions and abuse, like payed laborers could, the convicts were bound to keep working. Also, arrests commonly occurred more prevalently during the peak of cotton season.
Our textbook describes sharecropping (or tenant farming) as the labor system that replaced slavery. It got its name because the ex-slaves paid landlords a "share" of the crop to tend it. Most ex-slaves preferred this over wage labor, and—in theory—it offered ownership and more control over the work process. In reality, sharecroppers could not earn enough money to ever purchase the land. The large plantations broke up as the owners divided the land into small plots that African American and poor white families lived upon. There were conflicting interests between the farmers and the landowners, just as there were between the slaves and the plantation masters. The sharecroppers wanted to become independent landowners, which they were unable to do. The landowners sought a profit from...

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