History Essay on African American History Reconstruction

Published: 2021-07-05
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Middlebury College
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The 1865 Union victory in the civil war may have given more than 4 million slaves the freedom and the rebuilding process of the south between 1865 and 1877 introduced a new challenge. This African American community joined hands with the whites and temporarily brought the Republican Party into power. In short, the reconstruction was the initial step towards the spearheading the interracial democracy. Virtually, all writings during the 20th century show that it was the filthiest social and political era in the American history. All the new southern state restrictive laws passed during President Andrew Johnsons era, were aimed towards controlling the behaviors and labor of the African Americans and the freed slaves.

Massive changes in the American economy, culture, and politics, during the twelve years of civil war, were experienced during the reconstruction era. These were the years of the Indian Cowboys, and the buffalo hunts, railroads, cattle drives, and the ranches. Due to 1873s desperation caused by largest economic depression, this era was marked by vast business, the beginning of the Norths Gilded Age, an age of big fortune bulging of cities full of immigrants and struggle over the labor unions. The events in the north and the west interwove with those of the South where the central brawl for the reconstruction unfolded. The political reform in the south evolved in two discrete areas. First, the presidential reconstruction between 1865 and early 1867, started with Andrew Johnson shaping the depth and pace of the reintegration the U.S. with the South following the surrender of the Confederacy. The U.S. government and President Lincoln had no definite coherent and explicit plan for postwar South. Lincolns assassination and Andrew Johnsons rise in power, threw the thing into even more uncertainty (summers). Since Johnsons previous positions in the government- as the United States Senator, wartime governor of Tennessee and vice president during Lincolns time- he defended the union, acted surprisingly indulgent with the southerners and coldly towards the Africa people who were held as slaves.

Emancipation changed the incentives of the civil war warranting that the union success results into an enormous social revolution in the south. Nonetheless, it was much unclear what form the revolution would eventually take. Although there were no vibrant plans as the war drew to its close in 1865, President Lincoln adopted different strategies to drive back the distraught South into the Union. While referring to the reconstruction plan, President Lincoln pointed out in a speech in Louisiana that all blacks including those in the military had the rights to vote. Even though he was murdered three days later, his successor had to heed to an obligation to have the plan in place CITATION Cla13 \l 1033 (Ferrell). Before the civil war, however, the Afro- Americans were able to vote only in few states in the north, and essentially, there were no black officeholders. Massive mobilizations within the black people were witnessed few months after the Union conquest in 1965 with the petitions, meetings, and parades calling for the political and legal rights including the rights to participate in the election process.

Through the Equal Rights League a confederation formed as part of the reconstruction process, local and state conventions were held to demand suffrage and parity before the law and protest discriminatory treatment. The white community from the south banded together after the reconstruction kicked off so as to restore the Home Rule and overthrow and demoralize the activities of patriotic groups like the Ku Klux Klan. This belief was held on the postulation that the Africans suffrage was the most critical mistake of the post-civil war era. On the other hand, it was meant to rationalize the Souths racial segregation system and disfranchisement of the Afro-American voters in particular. To the blacks, autonomy meant independence and freedom from the control by the whites and their families as well as the post-emancipation difference on the preliminary pillars.

Even if, the 1865 union success in the civil war gave more than 4 million slaves some freedom, the process of building the south triggered a new set of challenges in the reconstruction of the south between 1865 and 1877. The legislation was passed between 1865 and 1866-during President Andrew Johnson term to control the behaviors and restrict the labor of the former slaves and other Africa-Americans. Indignation in the north over the back code eroded the support for the Presidential Reconstruction approach and led to the conquest of a more radical wing of the Republican Party. During this radical reconstruction in 1867, the newly endowed blacks devised a voice in the administration for the first spell in the American history, winning an election in the U.S Congress and the southern state legislature. The most important facet of the reconstruction was the vibrant participation of the Afro-Americans in the social, political and economic life in the South (Parsons). The era was significantly defined by the autonomy and quest for the blacks equal rights at the individual level and the community as a whole. Although the African Americans never achieved the exemplification in the government balanced to their numbers, more than 2000 held public offices from the local level to the U.S. Senate during the reconstruction process. Reactionary groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, however, reversed the changes created by the radical reconstruction in a ferocious backlash that reversibly restored the white hegemony in the south.

Due to Johnsons leniency, between 1865 and 1866 most of the southern states has enacted laws popularly known as the black codes which restricted the blacks activities and ensured their availability as the labor force. The repressive codes infuriated most of the leaders from the north, especially the members of the Congress. The congressmen and senators from the north sanctioned their counterpart from the southern state to enact the Civil Right and Freedmen Bureau Bills and send them to Andrew Johnson for the signature. President Johnson vetoed the bills, and this decision ruined his relation with the congressmen leading to his impeachment in early 1868. By 1870, a year of radical reconstruction, there was a key headway in the regions history with all former Confederate states was admitted in the state constitutions and the unions.

In conclusion, during the reconstruction period, the Republican Party in the South represented the blacks an overwhelming majority group of the Republicans in the region- along with the scalawags and carpetbaggers as the republicans from the south and north were referred to respectively. The African-Americans never achieved the exemplification in the government balanced to their numbers. However, more than 2000 held public offices from the local level to the U.S. Senate during the reconstruction process. The congressmen and senators from the north sanctioned their counterpart from the southern state to enact the Civil Right and Freedmen Bureau Bills and send them to Andrew Johnson for the signature.

Works Cited

Ferrell, Claudine L. Reconstruction .California: Praeger, 2013.

Parsons, Elaine Frantz. Ku-Klux: The Birth of the Klan during Reconstruction. North Carolina: University of North Carolina Press, 2015.

Summers, Mark Wahlgren. The Ordeal of the Reunion: A New History of Reconstruction. North Carolina: University of North Carolina Press, 2014.



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