Reconstruction Failure Essay Example
Reconstruction Failure Essay Example

Reconstruction Failure Essay Example

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  • Pages: 2 (447 words)
  • Published: November 7, 2017
  • Type: Essay
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During the Civil War and its aftermath, various government institutions attempted to address the economic, political, and social issues that arose. Nevertheless, this period resulted in disorder and uncertainty.

From 1865 to 1877, the Reconstruction era experienced numerous riots as Southern whites refused all types of equality and blacks demanded complete freedom and land ownership. The success and failure of this period remain highly debated in U.S. history, with some attributing its downfall to "Negro government" or black politics.

Despite their initial support for Reconstruction, some newspapers ultimately pointed fingers at black legislatures as the cause of its failure. According to Foner, this shift in blame coincided with a rise in respectable Republican opinion that pinned the blame on racism rather than addressing deeper issues. Black politicians were seen as a convenient scapegoat for Reconstruction's


demise. In addition, another factor that may have contributed to its downfall was the intervention of the Court.

According to Foner, the Court used to avoid getting involved in Reconstruction disagreements, but the Compromise of 1877 put an end to this era after it resolved the disputed presidential election of 1876. Additionally, banks may have played a part in hastening Reconstruction's downfall as the Freedman's Savings Bank could not repay its depositors due to bankruptcy. This left numerous black individuals (Freedman) without their funds.

The Freedman's Savings Bank halted its operations due to a lack of funds in June 1874. Although it had 61,000 depositors, the bank only possessed $31,000 to cover its obligations. The decline in crop prices was one of the primary reasons for Reconstruction's failure since numerous farmers and sharecroppers could not support themselves with their income. This depression cause

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cotton prices to plummet by almost 50%, as well as a decrease in tobacco, rice, and sugar costs.

The economic impact of the depression led to disrupted commerce and bankruptcy for merchants, while artisans were severely affected. Social mobility amongst unskilled laborers was almost non-existent for both races. The failure of Reconstruction ultimately reflects on America's people. Lincoln and Johnson's Presidential Reconstruction highlighted how difficult it was to reshape the South after the Civil War. The absence of northern foresight, disputes between Congress and Presidency, and southern whites' reluctance to give blacks significant power in society contributed to Reconstruction's failure. Despite failure, the attempt was made. Some individuals must learn how to adapt to change.

The experience of Reconstruction led to both positive and negative changes in the lives of black people. While some adjustments proved challenging, these individuals eventually emerged from slavery unharmed. Reconstruction marked the initial inception of the Civil Rights Act, serving as a driving force for African-Americans to continue their fight for their beliefs.

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