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Victoria Hubble February 8, 2000 Reconstruction The Reconstruction, a time most people would call a rebirth, succeeded in few of the goals that it had set out to achieve within the 12 years it was in progress. It was the reconstructions failure in its objectives, that brought forth the inevitable success in changing the South, as well as the countless African Americans living in it as well as the countless African Americans living in it at the time. There were three goals the reconstruction set, and failed to achieve, as well as emphasizing the profound effect it had on the south, and an entire race. In the South the Reconstruction period was a time of readjustment accompanied by disorder. Southern whites wished to keep blacks in a condition of quasi-servitude, extending few civil rights and firmly rejecting social equality. Blacks, on the other hand, wanted full freedom and, above all, land of their own. Inevitably, there were frequent clashes.
Some erupted into race riots, but acts of terrorism against individual black leaders were more common. During this turmoil, Southern whites and blacks began to work out ways of getting their farms back into operation and of making a living. Indeed, the most important developments of the Reconstruction era were not the highly publicized political contests but the slow, almost imperceptible changes that occurred in southern society. Blacks could now legally marry, and they set up conventional and usually stable family units; they quietly seceded from the white churches and formed their own religious organizations, which became a central point for the black community. Without land or money, most freedmen had to continue working for white masters; but they were now unwilling to labor in gangs or to live in the old slave quarters under the eye of the The governments set up in the Southern states under the congressional program of Reconstruction were, contrary to traditional cliches, fairly honest and effective. Though the period has sometimes been labeled Black Reconstruction, the Radical governments in the south were never dominated by blacks. There were no black governors, only two black senators and a handful of congressmen, and only one legislature controlled by blacks.
Those black who did hold office appear to have been about equal in competence and honesty to the whites. it is true that these Radical governments were expensive, but large state expenditures were necessary to rebuild after the war and to establish--for the first time on most southern states--a system of common schools. Corruption there certainly was, though nowhere on the scale of the Tweed Ring, which at that time was busily looting New York City; but it is not possible to show that Republicans were more guilty than Democrats, or blacks than whites, in the scandals that If the Civil War was fought to set black slaves free, then Reconstruction proved to be a fight to limit their freedom. Political power was gained by former slaves during the late 1860s, but any power gained was all but gone by the end of the 1880s. Blacks were given liberty in name only for the most part. They were not allowed to develop nor use the skills necessary to take advantage of that liberty in Americas unique For most African Americans living in the south during the Reconstruction era, life changed dramatically from enslavement, to a life of limited rights. Even though the reconstruction offered them a few unreliable rights, it failed to offer them the equal amount of social, economic, and political freedoms.
It was these three contributing factors that participated in changing the south. The Reconstruction was started by the freed slaves who rallied and protested for civil rights as well as justice. In addition to this, Radical Republicans from 1865 to 1877 temporarily wiped out each state in the Souths system of government. All of the black codes, a series of laws that forced blacks to sign labor contracts requiring them to work at a job for a full year, laws that permitted employers to whip black workers, and laws that allowed states to jail unemployed blacks and hire out their children, that violated or contradicted the equality of any man were overwritten by civil rights bills pushed by the Radical Republicans. The first goal of the 12 year reconstruction was to build a lifestyle of social equality for all the African Americans living in the south. This was the first time the South had been forced to put the equality of all persons before the law. One of the first changes to South under went due to the Reconstruction was the rights given to them stating that they could establish an educational system for their children as well as for themselves. And gradually, towards the end of the reconstruction in 1875, in states like Mississippi, Florida, and South Carolina approximately half of all children went to school. With the same amount of knowledge available to African Americans as there was for whites, it led them to get slightly better jobs, with better pay. The main idea behind African Americans being given the right to a school system was a good one, as well as an important addition to the Souths new government.
However it subconsciously began the insatiable chain reaction of segregation. Segregation existed in all the public universities, except in New Orleans and the University of South Carolina. Instead of following the African Americans into an already established schooling that the whites set up and attended, their 14th Amendment rights were violated, and they were placed in a separate school. As much as the Reconstruction failed to change in equal educational rights, it failed in civil rights as well. A person can easily say that the only successful social achievement that came out of the Reconstruction was the 14th Amendment. Stating that ...no state shall deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of laws; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. ( This was the first national definition of citizenship in American History, and it attempted to protect civil rights against state interferences.) Most white southerners ....
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