Professor HIST-1309-ONL214 January 2018 The Failure of Reconstruction In American history, the Civil War helped preserved the Union and helped free the slaves. During the Reconstruction however, there was a lack of political focus and the elimination of the freed slaves newly gained civil liberties failed to bring long-term racial integration.After the Civil War, the Union needed to bring the South back into the country. They wanted to also make sure that the South was on equal footing meaning that the South’s economy was revived and also help build their landscape back up. Abraham Lincoln first proposed the 10% plan, which had offered an easy and lenient way for Southern states to rejoin the Union.
However, when Lincoln was assassinated, Andrew Johnson, an accused former owner of slaves, became president and created his own plan for Reconstruction. His plan has worked initially however when he became president, former Confederates eventually worked their way in and were elected to the United States Congress. Then, the Republican dominated Congress had refused to sit with the Southerners. The Congress became more divided and due to this, there were tensions rising and it led to little progress of Reconstruction as well as the impeachment of Andrew Johnson. The Northern states disputed so much that it had sidetracked the Union from any real progress and did not help to bring the South back into Union.
Another cause of the lack of political focus during the Reconstruction was the economic prosperity in the North followed by the Civil War. The Northern states had failed to effectively build the South back up into the Union during Reconstruction. The first unsuccessful part of Reconstruction was seen in 1880. The difference between the South and the Northeast was similar to that between Russia which at the time was one of the poorest nations in Europe and between Germany which was one of the wealthiest. Also, “long into the 20th century, the South remained a one-party region under the control of a reactionary ruling elite,” (Couvares, 410) that had harbored hatred against the North.
Even in fact, until the 1940’s Tennessee was the one and only state of the confederacy to observe Lincoln’s birthday as a legal national holiday. Another issue of reconstruction was the integration of freed slaves into society, which was another unsuccessful part of Reconstruction. There were several times during Reconstruction when progress was made for freed African Americans. The first was the 13th, 14th, 15th Amendments that guaranteed African Americans certain liberties. In this time period, fourteen African Americans were elected to Congress and several others had served in state and local governments.
However, during this time, the rise of the Klu Klux Klan and other groups of white supremacy groups, began to intimidate freed slaves and push back black liberties. Reconstruction after the Civil War was a failure. The North was distracted and at odds over how the effort should be addressed and that did not effectively rebuild the South and bring it back into Union. Also, although for a time it appeared as if the slaves that were freed would become equal with whites, and racism to end. There were many ineffective efforts to bring the South back into the Union as equal as the North in many ways.