Essay by al15High School, 10th gradeA-, January 2008

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Success. It is a word that is so commonly used, yet has a various number of subjective definitions. In the Cambridge Advanced Learner's dictionary, it is defined as the achieving of desired results. In the imminent years following the Civil War, the plan of Reconstruction was formed with the original aim of literally reconstructing the Union back into one. If one looks at it from that standpoint, then it was a resounding success. However, underneath the simple re-uniting of the two region, there exists a deeper layer involving truly resurrecting the United States as one entity both nominally and intrinsically in terms of successfully reforming the political, social, and economic divides that had previously existed. Regarding this more detailed viewing, it becomes clear that the Reconstruction era did not succeed in achieving the two main goals it had originally set out to reach. Much of the economic, political, and social structure of the South had been around for long enough that they were intertwined and built upon each other.

This was a major obstacle Reconstruction faced as it struggle to reform a number of multi-faceted issues and hone a new Southern society based on a completely different set of economic, social, and political ideals. Despite noble, initial efforts to achieve the ideals of post-war Reconstruction, the Reconstruction era is ultimately marked by its failure to go beyond superficialities due to the impossibility of attaining true equality for the black man at the given time and the government's inability to successfully re-unite the people by creating a mutually beneficial society for everybody before re-uniting the country.

One of the most important goals that Reconstruction ultimately failed to achieve was the complete revolution of the social, political, and economic roles of the black man in the South.