Who Killed Reconstruction: Factors and Consequences

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Keith Lewis Julia Bernier HIST 201 29 November 2018 Reconstruction Essay Reconstruction was the period from 1865-1877 when national efforts concentrated on incorporating the South back into a Union after the Civil War. Neither before nor since the Americans have had the opportunity to refashion a particular region within the nation. Reconstruction was a struggle fought on many fronts, but it experienced trouble between blacks and whites, northerners and southerners.

Lincoln’s Vision and the Thirteenth Amendment

Lincoln described the Gettysburg Address as a “new birth at freedom” because it abolished slavery, giving slaves a chance at freedom.

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I feel as if Lincoln somewhat achieved his goal because they became free, but it only freed slaves in the areas of rebellion and left more than seven thousand in bondage. Right before Lincoln’s death, the Thirteenth Amendment was passed, legally abolishing slavery and freeing everyone. Four million people were free from slavery, which existed for 250 years. It was very meaningful to the enslaved because they were owned and forced to work for someone all their life, and they were finally free. With their hard-owned freedom, most of the slaves that were freed went off to have their own land and build cities for them to live in; some stayed back on the plantations. Vice President Andrew Jackson was propelled into the Executive office in April 1865, when President Lincoln was assassinated; JohnsonsJohnsons’ plan had required a provisional to null their ordinances of secessions, contradict their Confederate debt, and ratify the Thirteenth Amendment.

The Challenges of Radical Reconstruction

He pardoned the rebellion with wealthy planters who possessed more than $20,000 in property. The Radical Reconstruction was a portion of American politicians within the Party of the United States from around 1854. Radicals led efforts after the war to establish civil rights for former slaves and fully implement emancipation. Education was a big Reconstruction issue, with southern whites not liking black African American children having to go to a predominantly white school. Due to the acceptance of Radical Reconstruction for public education, the white southerners also had control over the government after the Reconstruction did not reject black education.

Southern whites’ efforts to end Reconstruction began as the Radical Reconstruction state governments took power, with Virginia being the first state to be “redeemed.” However, In 1859 and 1860, The Civil War destroyed and then transformed the American economy. Wealthy southern planters relied on African American slaves to grow a long number of crops across the region. Cotton had fed the textile mills to America and Europe, bringing great wealth to the regions. The slaves had constituted their valuable assets to their masters, roughly around $3 billion. The war interrupted the rhythms of commercial life, destroying lives and properties, as the Confederate government was struggling g to find guns, food, and supplies needed to field an army. Groups such as the Knights of the White Camelia and the white brotherhood had carried on the violence to blacks from the Ku Klux Klan. The Klan was the group most commonly involved in violence; in order to control their violence, Congress had to pass three Enforcement Acts in 1870-71. The northerners deserted the case of former slaves, and democrats recaptured the southern politics as the Reconstruction ended. Economic issues supplanted Reconstruction as the foremost issue on the national agenda, along with the biggest threat to Republican power in the South; it had been the violence and intimidation of white democrats. By the early 1870s, Stalwart Republicans assumed control of Republican Party politics. They turned from the idealism of civil rights to the practicality of economics and party policies.

The Compromise of 1877 and the End of Reconstruction

Meanwhile, in the South, between 1869-1871, the Redeemers won support from white southerners by promising local rule from white Democrats than black and white Republicans. Although Rutherford B. Hayes, a Republican, won a landslide victory in the Ohio gubernatorial election without mentioning Reconstruction. As the Republicans chose Rutherford B. Hayes as their nominee, Democrats chose Samuel J. Tilden, who ran on honest politics and home rule in the South. In what became known as the “Compromise of 1877”, Democrats conceded the presidency to Hayes on the condition that all remaining troops would be removed from the South. Without military force to back them up, the freed slaves living down there were without safety.

The Ambiguous Legacy of Reconstruction

There was nothing to keep the Southerners from taking advantage of the freedmen, and this is exactly what they did. Knowing that they couldn’t directly disobey the law, many Southerners set up their own laws, or black codes, that put hard restrictions on African Americans. So, even though protection laws were in place, they did little good, with no one to enforce them. At this point, the Reconstruction ended. The laws were in place, and they didn’t always work; some people felt that was enough; they had done their jobs. Reconstruction was a time period were America consisted of many leaders, goals, and accomplishments.


Though, like all things, it came to an end, the resulting outcome became a success and a failure. Granted, laws that were set up weren’t followed strictly. Slavery ended, but African Americans did not get an equal footing in society as a result. Although African Americans gained some rights. The South had real public education for the first time. On the one hand, African Americans earned many political and civil freedoms, including suffrage and equal protection under the law from constitutional amendments.


  1. Foner, Eric. “Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877.” Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2014.

  2. McPherson, James M. “Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era.” Oxford University Press, 2003.

  3. Du Bois, W. E. B. “Black Reconstruction in America 1860-1880.” The Free Press, 1998.

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Who Killed Reconstruction: Factors and Consequences. (2023, Aug 05). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/who-killed-reconstruction-factors-and-consequences/