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... overlooked the 14 th Amendment, and saw it as an insignificant amendment. And as result of the dismissal of the 14 th Amendment most private, and public companies like steamboats, hotels, and railroads either refused to serve blacks or set up separated The Second goal that the Reconstruction attempted to achieve, was the redistribution of land to African Americans and poor whites. However the distribution of homesteads, or seizure of land, one of Thaddeus Stevens ideas, met with little success.
One reason was because the North and South resisted as much as it was in their power to delay or terminate the idea. In addition to this, most times the government was seizing land from Indian and Mexican nations, and then would later give most of it to railroads, land speculators, and small cultivators. Lastly the Reconstruction attempted to change African Americans lives one last time, by giving them political freedom. With the new constitutions they were able to work as sheriffs, mayors, justices, and take seats in the city council. Very few took seats in congress, and the senate, but there were still some African Americans who did. These new jobs dealing with the local government gave them the power to determine the rights entitled to all African Americans as well as their political future.
The Reconstruction gave African Americans the right to an education, the benefits of hospitals, and they became part of the legal system as Sheriffs, police officers, judges and jurors. All these rights and benefits were given as a result of the new southern state constitutions created by blacks and whites together. However, like many benefits and rights given to African Americans during the Reconstruction, they soon disappeared. In relation to the legal system, after the Reconstruction few blacks remained on local police forces or in state militias and except for a few places blacks no longer served on southern juries. The South was transformed for African Americans during the reconstruction, but many of the benefits gained during that time were quickly reversed by southern democrats during the Redemption. The Reconstruction placed African Americans on a whole new standpoint economically and socially.
African Americans went from slave laborer and piece of possession to an equal citizen who could own land, earn wages and make economic decisions. Sharecropping was also instituted during this time and it gave laborers on other peoples plantations a share of the harvest. These new jobs African Americans gained, from their political freedom, led them to the only right no one could ever withhold from them. The only goal that reconstruction followed through on was brought forth on March 30, of 1870.
From the Reconstruction the 15 th Amendment was proclaimed. African Americans were taking a major step towards economic equality during the Reconstruction. This, however, was all repressed by the redemption. Almost every economic and social benefit gained by the African Americans during the Reconstruction was lost during the redemption. The reason why the Reconstruction fell short was because near the end of a 12 year struggle from the Radical Republicans, their determination slowly faded. Towards the end of the Reconstruction era, most grew tired of the ideas behind it, felt that there was no progress and eventually gave in.
To compensate for their struggles the Democrats came to an agreement in 1876. Democrats agreed to allow Rutherford B. Hayes to run for the 1867 elections. In return for this the Radical Republicans had to give up the ideas of the Reconstruction, as well as giving the South back its political power to self govern. At this point the Radical Republicans were deserting their struggles for the recently emancipated African Americans. Overall the reconstruction was a temporary gain for African Americans and eventually turned out to be a bust, although it did set the legal basis for events later to come which did create equal rights for African Americans.
Although the Reconstruction failed to achieve most of the goals it set out to accomplish, which was because of the determination of redeemers as well as the resistance from North and Souths, it was a rebirth for the nation as well as for the lives of most African Americans. In the long run, after the Reconstruction was over, things didnt go totally back to the way it was before, African Americans had more rights than before the Reconstruction. But the hopes and dreams that many blacks thought they finally achieved during the Reconstruction was quickly crushed afterwards. Most importantly, the Reconstruction was the primary event in American History that led to a bigger change in their lives. The Reconstruction had its share of successes, just as it had its share of failures.
It was the turning point in American History where life was supposed to start anew. African Americans gained and then lost the right to exercise voting rights, uses of hospitals, to become part of the legal system, to own land, to have political power, the right to a good education, and much more. After Republicans lost interest in supporting African American rights and Democrats regained political and economic control of the South, the racially segregated and capitalist government flourished again. The Reconstruction did, for a short time, transform the South for African Americans, but most rights and benefits gained during that time were lost to Democrats during the Redemption. The Redemption turned the Reconstruction into an economic, political, and social loss for most African After more than 2 centuries of being emancipated, African Americans were given a new life.
This phrase a new life was not the life of equality. However it was still a change from enslavement. This was the single and most important success of the Reconstruction. when it liberated African Americans in the South, it also replaced enslavement for segregation.
When dealing with a historical event such as this one, a person has to look at what the Reconstruction has cost African Americans and what it has brought them in return, then they must answer the question was it all worth while? Bibliography:
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Research essay sample on 14 Th Amendment African Americans