Faliure of Reconstruction

Essay by maf320University, Master'sA+, January 2005

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The Failure of Reconstruction: A reluctance toward equality.

Reconstruction was the effort of rebuilding the South based on free labor instead of slave labor. The issue to Northern politicians was how? At the end of the Civil War, Congress proposed the Thirteenth Amendment, which sought to prohibit slavery. A state was not to gain readmittance into the Union until it ratified the Amendment, but some states such as Mississippi were admitted despite failing to ratify. The Amendment became a part of the Constitution in December, 1865.

The Era of Reconstruction following the Civil War was a period marked by an intense struggle to restore a worn-out and devastated society. The war, which was aimed at confronting the national problem of slavery, only led to subsequent dilemmas over emancipation and an undefined condition of freedom. Some had unpretentiously believed that ending slavery would solve the problem of racial inequality, overlooking the prejudice and bleak atmosphere towards blacks.

Questions over how to reinstate a disloyal population with the fall of the Confederacy and restore a destroyed southern territory rang throughout the nation. Although the former slaves were undeniably freed, the foundations for a racial democracy were laid, and the country was once again united, overall, Reconstruction was a period of political strife, shortcomings, and general failure. After the war, the South was left in a state of complete turmoil. Passing armies had shattered the South's agricultural economy with the burning of buildings, destroying of crops, and killing of livestock. Southern industry was also badly hurt, as assets needed to support loans were lost in the war.

More importantly, the South, for the first time ever, was without an easy profit economy based on slavery. Racial prejudice was as strong as ever and many white southerners, with a feeling of superiority found it...