Reconstruction Essay, Research Paper
Reconstruction took place after the end of the civil war, and it also was impacted by social, economic, and political. The main reason for reconstruction was to put the union back together and free the slaves once and for all. Reconstruction took three eras to be completed. The first was Lincoln, the second was Andrew Johnson, and the third was the Congressional Reconstruction.
After the civil war, South cities were destroyed serious in 1865, but North cities did not. In economic aspect, economic life had creaked to a halt. Banks and business houses had locked their doors, ruined by runaway inflation. Factories were smokeless, silent, and dismantled. The transportation system had broken down completely. In social crisis, the main problem was slaves. At this time the labor force in the South had about 4 million slaves. These slaves were very valuable to the slaveholding planter class. They were a huge investment to Southerners and if taken away, could mean massive losses to everyone. Slaves were used in the South as helpers in the fields in the cultivation of tobacco, rice, and indigo, as well as many other jobs. The South especially needed more slaves at this time because they were now growing more cotton then ever because of the invention of the cotton gin. The North wanted to limit the number of slave states in the Union. When new territories became available in the West the South wanted to expand and use slavery in the newly acquired territories. But many Southerners felt that a government dominated by free states could endanger existing slaveholdings. In political aspect, the Congress was controlled by the Republicans parties which occupied the whole North cities, so the South people wanted to challenge the North to raise their power in Congress. The vice president, Andrew Johnson, was a former Democratic slaveholder from Tennessee, became president after Lincoln was assassinated. This situation showed that the American political structure was not stable, that s why the Presidential and Congressional Reconstructions appeared at that movement.
The Lincoln era lasted from 1863 to 1865. On December of 1863 the decree of 10 percent Reconstruction Plan was introduced. The 10 percent Reconstruction Plan included amnesty for the southerners that took the loyalty oath. It also said a state would gain readmission into the union if ten percent of the state population took the oath and agreed to emancipation. (Reconstruction). This era ended on April 14 when President Lincoln was shot. He died on April 15 at 7:55 am, officially ending the Lincoln era of reconstruction.
The next era of reconstruction was the Andrew Johnson era. The Johnson era went from 1865 to 1867. Johnson was a Democrat from Tennessee. He was a poor white man with no education and self-taught. He fought for free schools and property tax against wealthy planters. He was a slaveholder but indifferent he had more sympathy for white workingman. He voted for the Homestead Act.
Johnson made two proclamations regarding reconstruction. The first was that he would be granted amnesty if the loyalty oath was taken. Amnesty was not given, however for 14 classes especially the 14th class, those who had $20,000 or more in property. The second proclamation was restoration. Andrew Johnson appointed scalawag Unionist William Holden as Governor of North Carolina. He then appointed provisional governors who called conventions to repudiate secession, debts, and the ratify the slave-freeing thirteenth Amendment. Andrew Johnson however was said to be soft. The reason for this was that he was too conservative and feared social reform and change. Another reason was Johnson being against radical republicans in Congress. The last was his stubbornness and the inflexibility of his personality that influenced him to react the presidential reconstruction.
The third era was the Congressional Reconstruction. It was introduced by the 39th Congress, which began on December 4, 1865. In the Senate, Charles Sumner of Massachusetts put an emphasis on voting. In the House, Thad Stevens of Pennsylvania emphasized equality and land. Republican moderates was including Senator John Sherman of Ohio emphasized economics, railroads, and banks. The Republicans were in hurt to embrace their former enemies Xvirtually all of the Democrats Xin the chambers of Capitol. While the South had been out from 1861 to 1865, the Republicans in Congress had enjoyed a relatively free hand. They had passed much legislation that favored the North, such as the Morrill Tariff, the Pacific Railroad Act, and the Homestead Act. Now many Republicans balked at giving up this political advantage. On the first day of the Congressional session, they banged shut the door in the face of the newly elected Southern delegations.
Looking to the future, the Republicans were alarmed to realize that a restored South would be stronger than ever in national politics. Before the war a black slave had counted as three-fifths of a person in apportioning congressional representation. Now the slave was five-fifths of a person. Eleven Southern states had seceded and been subdued by force of arms. But now, owing to full counting of free black, the rebel states were entitled to twelve more votes in Congress, and twelve more votes, than they had previously enjoyed. When Southerners might join hands with Democrats in the North and with control of Congress or maybe even the White House. If this happened, they could perpetuate the Black Codes, virtually re-enslaving the blacks. They could dismantle the economic program of the Republican party by lowering tariffs rerouting transcontinental railroad, repealing the free-farm Homestead Act, possibly even repudiating the national debt. President Johnson thus deeply disturbed the congressional Republicans when he announced on December 1865, that the recently rebellious states had satisfied his conditions and that in his view the Union was now restored.
In conclusion, the South cities were destroyed by the Civil War, and the war made the South cities had the social, economic, and political impacted in 1865. This situation made the American history appeared the Presidential and Congressional Reconstruction. The major flaw and reason why Reconstruction was a failure was due to the great amounts of corruption and the highly unstable government. This began with the assassination of Lincoln. Lincoln was successor, but Johnson was not the best candidate to take over Reconstruction. The Radical Republicans of Congress did not agree with Johnson and his plans for restoration. They had different beliefs about the South and started radical Reconstruction. The disagreement between the President and Congress heightened and eventually led to the impeachment of President Johnson. There were also great scandals during Grant presidency, which caused a similar effect in with the politics in the South. As a result of the corruption, the North lost interest in Reconstruction completely. Politically, the South remained the same as it had before, Democratic. The blacks did gain freedom, but they were far from equality. And the great amount of corruption during this time period marks Reconstruction as a failure.