The Reconstruction Era and Its Failures

Essay by sbosirisHigh School, 10th gradeA+, June 2004

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The Civil War had ended in 1865 with the victor being the Northern Army. The Southern Army, the Confederates, not only lost the war, but also sustained a great amount of damage to their land. And now that the Confederates had been defeated, this meant that slavery was abolished. The period known as the Reconstruction Era began soon after the war had ended and was to continue until 1877. During this period, the South had to reassess itself and rebuild itself from the ground up. "This was a time of political, social and economic rebuilding in the South." (BizSuite Web Service) However, there were some discrepancies and failures involved with the reconstruction of the South, and they were mostly towards the former slaves.

One of the aspects of Southern society that changed immensely was the state of Blacks after the war. "Blacks after the Civil War enjoyed many privileges that their predecessors could only dream of.

They could vote, hold office and attend school." (Cozzens, The State of Blacks) The segregated schools became integrated, interracial marriages were made legal, and black politicians were being appointed. "Despite these major improvements, life for Southern blacks was far from perfect. 'Black Codes,' designed to limit the opportunities of blacks, were passed in the South during Reconstruction." (State of Blacks) These codes prevented Blacks to own property, pursue certain professions, and if they were seen as unfit parents, their children were given to their former slave master. "Rights gained by African Americans between 1865 and 1877 were lost with the establishment of the 'Black Codes.'" (Zwick, Huckleberry Finn: Slavery and Race Relations) These codes were a continuation of slavery in the South.

More predicaments arose for the Blacks when racist groups were being formed. One of the most prominent is the Ku Klux Klan...