Reconstruction was the period after civil war where the Congress desired to punish the previous Confederacy for causing conflict before the nation rejoined.The Confederacy was not willing to award rights to the former slaves hence the reluctance aidedto the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson and the beginningof Radical Reconstruction controlled by Radical Republicans and Congress.
In the year 1865, President Andrew Johnson effected a policy of Reconstruction giving the white South a free opportunity in modifying the evolution of freedom from slavery (Crowe, Justin, 2017).. The policy did not offer any political role to black people of the South. The Radical Republicans supported the plan of abolishing slavery in the southern states and transform the society entirely to ensuring that South would not attempt to split again.
After the assassination of President Lincoln, President Andrew Johnson implemented the 10% policy and let go of many Confederate officials (DeWitt and Johnson, 2008). Nonetheless, Radical Republicans present in Congress summoned for stricter measures to demand on a loyalty pledge from 50% of every state's balloting population fair to 10%. The Radicals tried to reform the South by empowering blacks, and punishing southern planter elites were punished because politicians thought that they caused the civil war. The U.S government managed to allocate repossessed lands to former slaves and whites who were poor, improved sanitation and education, and fostered industrial growth in restored southern cities.
Securing rights of the former slaves were the critical role of Reconstruction. Radical Republicans passed some laws and reforms to protect rights of the blacks. They were granted citizenship, right to vote and civil rights. 1875 act tried to prohibit racial oppression in public areas. Nonetheless, the Radical Republicans had to deal with the chief persecutor in the arraignment of President Andrew Johnson to get satisfied.
Johnson policy envisioned:
- Those to take loyalty oath would be pardoned
- Confederate officers and people who owned assets valued in a surplus of twenty thousand dollars would not be condoned.
- Slavery needed to be abolished by the state before the reunion.
- A state was obliged to abolish its secession law before its reunion.
Nevertheless, the Republicans refused to comply with the plan above because they needed to retain their wartime plan, which supported for protective charges, pro-business state banking scheme, liberal land guidelines for early settlers, and federal help for railroad establishment. If the South had fallen back into the hands of the Democrats, the programs would have suffered. The risk made many Republicans to support the blacks vote. The freed slaves would be grateful and would vote republican hence assist in maintaining the status quo.
Radical Republicans who controlled the Congress fully after 1866 elections rapidly approved the Military Reconstruction Acts, which alienated the South region into five categories consisting of military districts. Every district was placed under military governanceand fresh polls conducted whereby former slaves voters approved by Congress were the only one supposed to vote. The military personnel in each district supervised the elections and voters registering process. Tennessee had a big crowd, which supported the Union hence it was exempted from military reconstruction because it had met the requirements of Radical Republicans reconstruction. The remaining Confederacy was split up and put underneath authority of previous Union generals. The military districts were divided in numbers:
- District number one- was Virginia, which was not joined with any other state and was put on General John Schofield command. Blacks were permitted to vote, and around twenty-four freedmen were voted to Constitutional Convention. Ratification of the new constitution was in 1869. The state joined back the Union in 1870 hence ending reconstruction.
- District number two- was north and South Carolina was under General Daniel Sickles. 71 freedmen won the seats for Constitutional Convention. Both got readmission in 1868.
- District number three- the region consisted Alabama, Florida, and Georgia who were commanded by General John Pope. It was most intense during the war during the reconstruction period. Georgia consisted of the highest number of Republicans in the local senate, and many whites moved from the north to south for economic satisfaction. 1200 groups scattered across the state of Florida working with the freed slaves who were protected by Freedmen's Agency. Alabama and Florida got rejoined in1868 while Georgia was readmitted in 1870.
- District number four- General Edward Ord commanded Mississippi and Arkansas. Arkansas elected 68 Republican ambassadors were voted for the Convention. Mississippi experienced the most widespread post-war violence of any state. Arkansas was rejoined in 1868 while Mississippi in 1870.
- District number five- it constituted of Texas and Louisiana under General Philip Sheridan command. Louisiana was rejoined in 1868 while Texas gained readmission in 1870.
The states rejoined the Union after writing of the new constitutions and ratification of the 14th Amendment. The President rejected the Reconstruction Acts naming them as unlawful and pointless. However, the Congress overrode Johnson rejection, and all the southern states approved the 14th Modification underneath the military ruling and the states reinstated to the Union.
President Johnson alleged in white sovereignty with an effort to put the white population underneath the supremacy of people of the color in the Southern state had reduced. The President had prevented the collaboration of black and white people which is very crucial to the success of industrial growth in the South. Racism of the President had created a lot of disagreement between him and the Congress who sought to establish complete equality between whites and blacks.
The Radical Republicans who occupied the significant part in the Congress scorned the President and needed to inhibit him from meddling in congressional Reconstruction. The Radical Republicans approved two laws to reduce the powers of the President. The first law was the Army Command policy that barred the President from giving out military commands not unless through commander general of the military.The commanding general could not be relocated from the office without the permission of the Senate.
The second law is the Tenure of Office Act that needed the President to acquire the consent of the Senate each time he appointed or fired officials. The Congress had approved this act to make sure that Republicans who showed favor to Radical Reconstruction would not be kicked out of their jobs.Johnson made a blunder by removing Secretary of War from the office without the consent of the Senate because he had collaborated with the Radical Republicans and replaced him with S. Grant who later resigned and joined the Republicans. This blunder gave the Radical Republicans action to remove the President out of the office arguing that he had violated the Tenure of Office Act. The Radical Republication decided to impeach the President but later dropped the impeachment instead the President was effectively silenced making it easy for the Republicans to continue with their plan of reconstructing the South,
Success of Reconstruction
The Reconstruction of the south had much success because it helped the United States to be a nation and not just a country. It was also successful because the separation of North and South was put to an end, and the Southern state ended the effort to separate from the Northern state. The Reconstruction also achieved in drafting new Constitution of each state of the Southern. Further modification of the Constitution offered similar rights to persons of all color. Reconstruction periodaided resolution to the federalism disagreement between the state of Virginia and state of Kentucky(Horton and Trefousse, 2012)
Failure of Reconstruction
There were many failures connected to freeing the slaves. Few people were left working in the plantations making the economic system of the south demolish. The KKK group who promoted racism turned out to be more noticeable in the South and attacked both the blacks and whites. Reconstruction led to sharecropping system which did not favor the blacks because it was very similar to slavery although they were given a share of land that earned the profit. The Democrats drew federal crowds outside the Southern state and embraced the governing coming up with 1877 Conciliation hence the blacks did not experience equality for an extended period. Even though the blacks were granted the right to vote, a large number of the people elected in the local offices and the state were the white.
President Johnson sensed that the Military Reconstruction Act was an unlawful extension of national power into regions of state authority.He sensed that dictatorship would happen if the army had power over nominated civil executives.He sensed that the Civil War had revealed that the Union was intact and that the Military Reconstruction Act was handling the Southern states as though they were ruled lands.
Crowe, K, Justin, H. (2017). "The Civil War and Reconstruction." Princeton University Press, pp.132 doi:10.23943/princeton/9780691152936.003.0004.
Dalton, Joseph W (2005). "Bridging the Gap: The Military Role in Stabilization and Reconstruction Operations."p. 127-142. doi:10.21236/ada464531.
DeWitt, D. and Johnson, A. (2008). The impeachment and trial of Andrew Johnson, seventeenth president of the United States. Pp. 35-41. [Buffalo, NY]: William S. Hein & Co.
Horton, P. and Trefousse, H. (2012). Impeachment of a President: Andrew Johnson, the Blacks and Reconstruction. The History Teacher, 36(1), p.139.
The History Place - Impeachment: Andrew Johnson." The History Place - Triumph of Hitler: Burning of Books. Retrieved from www.historyplace.com/unitedstates/impeachments/johnson.htm.
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