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Reconstruction: A Southern Victory Essay

1046 words - 5 pages

RECONSTRUCTION: A SOUTHERN VICTORY The surrender of Confederate General Lee to Union General Grant at Appomattox Court House in April 1865 brought with it not only the end of the Civil War, but also the beginning of the rebuilding and reunion of the nation. President Lincoln faced the daunting task of reuniting the North and the South, both sections still bitter over a war that had killed six hundred thousand of their fellow Americans. When Lincoln was assassinated just five days after Lee's surrender, the South lost its only hope for peaceful and easy reconstruction. Through Lincoln, the South had a shield from the Radical Republicans, who would take control of the nation, overruling even ...view middle of the document...

New state legislation also included restrictions on voting, such as Grandfather clauses, which stated that in order to gain the right to vote, a person's grandfather had to have had the right to vote. This effectively prevented many blacks from the right to vote, and further empowered the southern whites to create an atmosphere much like that before the Civil War. As southern governments restricted the rights of the newly-freed blacks, northerners became increasingly angry, and began questioning whether the war had been fought in vain. Reconstruction was a Southern victory because, upon the return of Southern States' rights, the right to corrupt government and oppression was also returned.Reconstruction, designed to help the black population, left it badly wounded in the end. Despite the Reconstruction Amendments and pushed for equality. Black codes deprived blacks of any real right to vote, own property, or serve on a jury. Blacks had no capital to build on. All they had to offer was their labor. Many Blacks were forced to become sharecroppers. They went from being slaves to their masters to being slaves to the soil on which they worked and the creditors who financed their land. This was actually a step down from their previous social position. As slaves, they were fed and generally kept in relatively good health. As sharecroppers, their livelihood depended on the success of their crop. They no longer had their masters to depend on. Blacks also became the victims of cruel vigilante groups and racist whites. Violence against the black population increased through the late 1860s with the rise of the Ku Klux Klan. This vigilante group was known for its brutal beatings and murders of blacks throughout the South. Reconstruction failed to truly protect the rights and interests of blacks in the South. The established programs failed to better the quality of life for blacks, and couldn't even secure their right to vote, a right...

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