Who Killed Reconstruction? Essay

758 words - 4 pages

Reconstruction has been brutally murdered! For a little over a decade after the Civil War, the victorious North launched a campaign of social, economic, and political recovery in the former Confederacy and to readmit the land in the former Confederacy back into the United States as states. Reconstruction yielded many benefits for African Americans. The 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments freed African Americans, made them citizens, and gave them the right to vote respectively. The Freedmen’s Bureau also provided African Americans and poor whites with education, jobs, and supplies. Despite this, Reconstruction was cut short in 1877. The North killed Reconstruction because of racism, negligence, and distractions.
One reason the North killed Reconstruction was their racist attitudes. Freedmen politicians were portrayed as corrupt “fat cats” and caused nothing but chaos and bedlam in the legislatures they served in (Harper’s Weekly, 1874). This showed that the North thought negatively about African Americans. Also, the Boston Evening Transcript stated that, “blacks need a period of probation and instruction; a period...long enough for the black to have forgotten something of his condition as a slave and learned much of the true method of gaining honorable subsistence and of performing the duties of any position to which he might aspire,” (Richardson, 2001). This quote proved that the North was not ready to fully embrace African Americans as equals, and that there was still some racism that existed among Northerners. So, if the North was not racist, the North would have had a more positive reception towards Reconstruction.
The North’s negligence also contributed to the end of Reconstruction. The North had failed to notice many racially motivated atrocities that occurred in the South during Reconstruction The government also gave amnesty to many Southerners. According to Document G, “because of pressure from the Liberal Republican, Congress passed a general amnesty act which restored the right of office holding,” (Stampp, 1967). This “removed the political disabilities from most of the prewar leadership” (Stampp, 1967). Obviously, this was a foolhardy move by the North. The amnesty of Southerners gave racist Southerners another chance to dominate the South with racism and hate. The North also had failed to stop black codes. These laws restricted African Americans’...

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