Reconstruction essay

Reconstruction essay - Andrew Golden Mr. Gruskin AP U.S....

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Andrew Golden Mr. Gruskin AP U.S. History 25 March 2007 Reconstruction If there was ever one period and place that came close to experiencing both the best of times and the worst of times, the reconstruction years in the United States would be an excellent example. The country’s reconstruction period, from 1865 to 1877, was the government's unclear follow-up act to the Civil War and plan to redevelop the crushed South. At the end of the Civil War, the defeated South was a ruined land. The physical destruction wrought by the invading Union forces was enormous, and the old social and economic order founded on slavery had collapsed completely, with nothing to replace it. The eleven Confederate states somehow had to be restored to their positions in the Union and provided with loyal governments, and the role of the emancipated slaves in Southern society had to be defined. Many great new changes resulted from this complicated and droning period of reconstruction, including the first public schools in the South, many of the first black colleges and churches, the fourteenth and fifteenth amendments to the Constitution and the first black voters and political officeholders. On the other hand, however, the reconstruction period brought about the Ku Klux Klan and other secret societies throughout the South in opposition to the new status of former slaves. No longer able to enslave blacks, white supremacists found new ways to discriminate against the blacks and developed these groups as a result. Threatening, beating and murdering, they stripped
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blacks of their new freedoms, such as the right to vote and even the ability to walk down sidewalks at the same time as whites. The carrying out of reconstruction was divided into two main categories, each with its own motives and objectives. The first of the two was the passive method, which focused on reuniting the country quickly and efficiently and was backed by the forces of Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson. On the other hand, however, was the more aggressive method, which focused on civil rights and black suffrage and martyring. This more aggressive route was supported greatly by the radicals in congress, especially Congressman Thaddeus Stevens and Senator Charles Summer. Major issues dealt with during reconstruction involved relations between the old confederates and the unionists, southern loyalty, and black suffrage. Of the two very different methods of reconstruction, the Radical method, above all, was the most successful because the people felt it would be more effective and fast-acting as they understood its plan to instantaneously reform social and moral codes. Immediately following John Wilkes Booth’s devastating April 14, 1865 assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, the radical party and its reforms of the fallen confederacy and the south took action and the period of Reconstruction was born. Reconstruction of the South began in with the start of the Civil War, contrary to
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Reconstruction essay - Andrew Golden Mr. Gruskin AP U.S....

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