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“Why Did The ‘Reconstruction’ Of The South Prove To Be Such An All Around Failure?”

817 words - 4 pages

In theory, Lincoln’s plan of Reconstruction seemed an efficient way to redeem the South of its devastation. He was willing to give them a break and do far more for the former Confederates than they deserved. Reconstruction proved to be a failure because Southerners regressive and resistant to change. Because of conflicting viewpoints between Andrew Johnson and congress, the false promises of the Reconstruction Amendments and South’s reign of terror on African Americans these efforts were dismantled.
A mistake contributing to reconstruction’s failure was Johnson straying from Lincoln’s original Ten Percent Plan which was as follows: “a southern state could be readmitted into the Union once 10 percent of its voters swore an oath of allegiance to the Union. Voters could then elect delegates to draft revised state constitutions and establish new state governments. All southerners except for high-ranking Confederate army officers and government officials would be granted a full pardon.” After Lincoln’s assassination Johnson pardoned all Southerners including government officials. He went as far as pardoning Alexander Stephens, Vice President of the Confederate States of America. He was then elected to the United States Senate by Georgia. Because of Johnson’s terrible decision making Congress went on to pass the Wade-Davis Bill. Basically pushing the Ten Percent Plan to the Fifty Percent Plan, it proposed that now fifty percent of a state had to take the oath in order to be readmitted as a state. It was a battle between Johnson and the Radical Republicans in Congress.
During Reconstruction the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth amendments were passed, collectively known as the Reconstruction Amendments. The thirteenth amendment abolished slavery, the fourteenth protected the rights of former slaves and the fifteenth gave everyone the right to vote regardless of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. In theory these amendments should have launched America in the right direction and help reconstruction be successful but the South continuously got around each of the laws. These were limited successes because although they freed the slaves the laws protecting them were no specific and far too flexible. Slavery was abolished but it was nearly impossible to attain a job with a respectable and honest wage. Certain rights were protected but that did not mean they were rights that had to be equal and up to par with white rights, just enough to go unnoticed as being unjust. Blacks were finally able to vote and voice their opinions...

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