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Characteristics and impacts of american reconstruction essay

The Reconstruction era was marked by political, not violent, conflict. Some historical myths are that the South was victimized by Reconstruction, and that the various plans of Reconstruction were corrupt and unjust. Actually, the plans were quite lenient, enforcing military rule for only a short period of time, ignoring land reform, and granting pardons easily.

The task of Reconstruction was to re-integrate America into a whole nation, securing the rights of each man and establishing order once again. There were three major Reconstruction plans; Lincoln, Johnson, and Congress each offered a strategy to unify the nation. Then that ten percent could create a state government that would be loyal to the Union.

Confederate officials, army and naval officers, and civil officers who had resigned from office were all required to apply for presidential pardons Boyer, 443. Under his ten percent rule, no freedmen could be part of a state government. This left the freedmen at the mercy of the states for protection. Congress viewed this plan as far too lenient, and in 1864 passed the Wade-Davis bill. This bill required the majority of voters in each Southern state to take an oath of loyalty; only then could the state hold a convention to repeal secession and abolish slavery.

Lincoln did not sign the bill into law, or pocket-vetoed the bill, and was soon assassinated. Therefore, he did not have a chance to implement his plan of Reconstruction, and his goal was not met. Then, each state was required to write new constitutions adopting the 13th amendment Boyer, 444.

Johnson repudiated Confederate war debts, and he also supported Black Codes.

  1. Letters from the Civil War. For Cause and Comrades.
  2. American Writers and the Civil War.
  3. It shall serve as a case study here for exploring the question of how twentieth-century literary fiction constructs narratives about history. In summary, a list of major themes depicted in nineteenth and twentieth-century American literature about the Civil War would include the subsequent topics.

He took steps to insure a dependant black work force for the South, and restricted the rights of African-Americans. Freedmen were not allowed to marry interracially, perform jury duty, or give testimony in court against whites.

  • More recent studies have demonstrated, however, that the war triggered an enormous body of war-related texts that have rarely been explored such as poetry, sentimental stories, sensational war novels, war humor, adolescent stories, war songs, and anecdotes;
  • It shall serve as a case study here for exploring the question of how twentieth-century literary fiction constructs narratives about history;
  • He lay upon his back staring at the sky;
  • These arguments not only have had a lasting impact on the critical debates on the writing of history per se but have been highly influential on literary studies as well;
  • Lee seemed to think battle—among all acts man might commit—stood outranked in sacredness only by prayer and Bible reading;
  • Then that ten percent could create a state government that would be loyal to the Union.

State elections were more important to citizens during the Reconstruction era, and unless Johnson guaranteed State voting rights to freedmen he was offering them hardly anything at all.

Also, Johnson supported Black Codes against Northern public opinion, which damaged him politically in the North. Finally, Johnson did not deal with land reform or economic aid, which was economically unsound. Caught up in battles with Congress and an impeachment scandal until he left office, Johnson did not achieve his Reconstruction goals. Congress finally implemented their plan in 1866. This is viewed as the most prevalent plan of Reconstruction.

Congress would then review the constitutions and the applications for pardons from Confederate officers. The states also had to accept the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments. Finally, the South would be divided into ten military districts and were to be under military law Boyer, 448. The military occupation was actually quite light and did not last long.

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  • Another, who was a boy in years, took his plight with great calmness and apparent good nature;
  • The facets of the Civil War, its protagonists, places, events, and political, social and cultural underpinnings seem to hold an ongoing fascination for both academic studies and fictional representations;
  • Freedmen were never given educational assistance, which meant that many blacks were illiterate, with no wealth or business skills;
  • Before the 1980s, American literature had produced relatively few novels and with varying degrees of literary quality that specifically thematized the Civil War.

Also, the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments dealt only with Federal laws, and did not extend to state elections or private policy. Although Congress did not succeed in guaranteeing black suffrage, which was one of its original intentions during Reconstruction, it did begin the process of rebuilding the South.

  • A burning roar filled his ears;
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  • His images of the war construct the conflict between the Northern and Southern States not only as a contradiction in rhetorics of the political camps but speak to the bloody reality of the war;
  • Major Problems in the Civil War and Reconstruction;
  • Lincoln and His Party in the Secession Crisis.

Reconstruction modernized Southern law codes, created more equal Congressional districts, a fairer tax system, and a public school system.

What it failed to do was give freedmen social or legal equality, and protect them from white violence and oppression. By refusing to deal with land reform, the plan helped the rise of the share-cropping system, and by failing to guarantee state rights, it paved the way for segregation.

By 1875, the North was tiring of Reconstruction and devoted its focus to the Frontiers and Industrialization. Reconstruction had a deep impact on the North, the South, African-Americans, and the nation as a whole. A landmark case that also had deep repercussions in America was the case of Plessy v.

Ferguson, which ruled that segregation was legal and could be enforced. Reconstruction led the North into industrial growth, labor unrest, and created political unrest Boyer, 462.

Due to the implementation of the factory system, the North was able to employ low-level workers in droves.

Reconstruction government in the south essay

The black man became the common factory laborer; he was paid the littlest and was the most expendable. Factory owners pitted immigrants and freedmen against each other in order to pay as little possible for workers.

This led to labor unrest as the blacks were forced into ghettos because of their poverty. Reconstruction also showed the North as the hypocrite it was regarding race issues. Although the North had championed abolition and was known as a respite for characteristics and impacts of american reconstruction essay, it still participated in de-facto segregation and discriminated against blacks in hiring and wages. In the South, Reconstruction began the process of physically rebuilding what the war had destroyed.

Also, Reconstruction modernized Southern law codes, created more equal congressional districts, a fairer tax system, and a public school system. However, Reconstruction also maintained the status quo in the South. By allowing Black Codes and giving freedmen little protection, Reconstruction provided the South with an ignorant and dependant work force much like slavery. Ferguson reinforced racist Southern opinion by legalizing segregation and allowing for its enforcement. This lead to more racist violence, many times in the form of lynching and riots.


Also, the decision forced blacks into the role of inferior laborers once again. To the freedman, Reconstruction was a virtual failure. The Federal government failed to provide any real protection to blacks physically or politically. Blacks were kept at the bottom of the social scale, imprisoned as sharecroppers or factory laborers.

Freedmen were never given educational assistance, which meant that many blacks were illiterate, with no wealth or business skills.

Ferguson further oppressed blacks by upholding segregation and denying them protection under the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments. The ruling institutionalized racism, and firmly established blacks as an inferior class until the Civil Rights Movement of the 60s. However, freedmen did create black institutions in response to Reconstruction; there was a cropping up of black churches, schools, and higher education establishments Boyer 458.

It laid the groundwork for the Civil Rights Movement by passing the 13, 14, and 15th amendments, even though they would not be implemented to protect minority rights for nearly a hundred years.

Reconstruction also established a policy of treating African-Americans as second-class citizens.

The Unwritten War? The American Civil War as a Theme in American Literature

The nation was taught that it was alright to treat blacks as inferior people because the government would not even guarantee them the right to vote in state elections. However, Reconstruction did pave the way for share-cropping and the factory system, which would lead to an economic boom as American expanded. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston: