Was Reconstruction a Success or Failure?

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  894 Words
Date:  2021-03-08

America over the years has experienced some changes politically. The country has had several leaders, with all of them having different ideologies, plans and objectives for the future of the country. From history, several movements have evolved over time, and such movement was reconstruction. This was a period of historical time that consisted of several leaders, objectives, and accomplishments. Just like any other movement, it came to an end, and as a result, the outcomes of the movement have been successful, but to others, the movement failed to meet its objectives.

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Reconstruction began in the year 1865 after America was involved in the Civil War. Reconstruction was, therefore, a time of picking up the pieces, and putting them back. It was an easy task to get America to bring back the country back to the way it was. The Civil War was coupled with massive deaths, and this made people resentful which resulted in hatred. The region that was mostly affected was the South, which did not virtually exist economically and politically. The southerners, therefore, sought to reconstruct their area by trying to get back into the realm of politics and economy. The countrys population was full of slaves who did not have any ideas of how to survive. After the slaves had been freed in 1865 by the 13th amendment, they became a great concern to all political leaders. With leaders thinking of what to do to tackle the problem of slaves, they all began deploying plans that led to reconstruction. The first person to start reconstruction was Abraham Lincoln, who was the president at the time. This plan is called the Lincoln Plan that stated the conditions for a Confederate state to return to the Union (Barney, 55). For a state to join the union, they were required to have at least 10% of voters who had to accept emancipation and show loyalty to the union. The president also had the mandate to stop ranking state officers from holding offices or even exercise their rights to vote.

Reconstruction can be termed as being a success in that it was able to make the United States a unified country (Barney, 56). At the end of the year 1877, almost all the Confederate states had completed drafting their constitutions, having acknowledged the importance of the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments. The states had also pledged all their loyalty to the government. Reconstruction was, therefore, able to put to closure the debate over the states rights vs. the federalism. Due to Reconstruction, African Americans were able to participate in the nation building. The government was able to give equal rights to all its citizens, and create services such as transport, schools, hospitals, asylums and housing. The people from the northern region were also able to improve the literacy levels among the African Americans through education. Regarding these developments, more industries were created which included the cotton, steel and lumber industries. These industries were used as the key to revitalizing the economy of the United States. Other institutions that gained autonomy during this period were the cultural venues, churches and all black organizations (Barden, 6).

Another success of reconstruction is the fact that it was able to abolish the slave trade. In the 13th amendment, there were laws designed to protect the rights of all Americans. This protection was extended by the introduction of the 14th and 15th amendments. Since most slaves did not have the skills to help them get by, legislations such as the Civil Rights Act, and the Freedmans Bureau were used by the government to try and get the Americans back on their feet. They were allowed to participate in all the governments projects, society, and the economy. This saw some of the slaves being employed in government offices as governors and senators.

It has to conclude that the reconstruction was a success because it had its failures. Some of the negatives of reconstruction involved the freedom given to the slaves (Barden, 6). Due to this freedom, the economy of the southern region plundered. The reason was that since most slaves were given their freedom, only a few people worked on the vast plantations. There was also the case of the whites attacking the blacks in the south. Racism was a major setback for the reconstruction movement. Another setback was the sharecropping system which saw blacks being allocated land. Although this was considered a win by the blacks, it was very similar to what they went through as slaves. The depression of 1870s saw the reconstruction of the southern region come to a halt. The troops who were safeguarding the south of the country were pulled out by the Democrats, and this meant that the blacks would not enjoy equality until in the 1960s.


In summary, the reconstruction period is a toss-up. Though the movement did not succeed full, it can be seen a step towards the right direction. This is because all the laws that were set up were followed to the letter. This allowed citizens to have clarity on their rights, and this enabled then to fight for their rights. With these insights, America was able to become a unified state. Reconstruction was, therefore, success, but with several exceptions.

Works Cited

Barden, Cindy. Slavery, Civil War, and Reconstruction. Quincy, IL: Mark Twain Media, Inc, 2011. Print.

Barney, William L. A Companian to 19th-Century America. Malden, Mass: Blackwell, 2006. Print.

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Was Reconstruction a Success or Failure?. (2021, Mar 08). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/was-reconstruction-a-success-or-failure

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