Reconstruction Period





Reconstruction Period

The reconstruction period was between the years 1865 and 1877 following the end of the Civil War. The leader of Reconstruction was president Abraham Lincoln. His main objective was to unite the states in the South as well as development of a constitution that prohibited slavery (Campbell and Fraser, 34). Additionally, this era served as period for Abraham and his supporters to rebuild the South, which would be facilitated by the emancipation of black people and securing the future of the United States of America. Some of the problems that Lincoln sought to address was the starvation, restoring human rights to the freed slaves.

The demise of President Lincoln was a major hit to the progression of the Reconstruction period and the objectives set. This claim is justified by the election on Lincoln’s successor. President Johnson was elected from the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. He was a democratic supporter and a southerner (Summers 40). The primary reason that explains why Lincoln had previously elected Johnson as his vice president was because he sought to solicit support from the southerners who were reluctant about leaving the union. Johnson held the opinion that the slaves who were emancipated were incapable of managing their individual lives and were not fit to vote (Campbell and Fraser, 50). He also expressed that Southern states should be permitted to chose the right course for themselves without any interference. Additionally, he strongly believed pardon and amnesty should be granted to confederates who were willing to support the 13th amendment and pledge their commitment and loyalty to the Union. His opinions were met with oppression from the Republicans. This is primarily because they believed that all the promises that were indicated in the Declaration of Independence should be fulfilled. This was inclusive of rights to all freed men with the inclusion of the emancipated slaves.

A political power battle negatively affected the enactment constitutional amendments directed towards improving the lives of the freedmen (Summers 20). Implementation of Reconstruction was problematic because of the opposition levied by the radical Republicans. Firstly, they demanded that all salves were to be entitled to all the opportunities and political rights as other races. They also held the belief that the contributors of the Civil War, in this case the confederates were to be held accountable for their facilitation to  the war (Campbell and Fraser, 55). Some of the political republicans that outrightly dismissed the policies of reconstruction proposed by Johnson were Thaddeus Stevens and Charles Sumner.

Several problems plagued the freedmen. Firstly, the lacked the resources and rights to vote for political leaders that would improve their lives economically. Due to this, they were disadvantaged especially prior to the impeachment of President Johnson. They lacked employment opportunities. Due to slavery, most of the slaves did not have any skills set that would enable them to compete in the job market once they were granted freedom. The most fundamental problem that they faced was racial discrimination (Campbell and Fraser, 60). They were unable to access employment or proper transport. This resulted into them acquiring meager jobs at plantations in order to earn a living.

The freed men had various aspirations. They wanted to be exempted from the special tax they were coerced to pay for non-farmers and non-servants. They wanted to be able to fish and hunt in any area of their choosing. Some wanted to be able to own guns and access areas such as schools, parks, and public facilities (Summers 56). The freed men wanted to have equal opportunities to education, employment, transport, and migration as their counterparts. However, with the restriction of their civil rights by the Black codes that were reinforced after the civil war, the emancipated black slaves were unable to fulfill their aspiration at that particular time.

The first positive outcome of the Reconstruction Era was the establishment of the Freedmen’s Bureau. The primary aim of this bureau was provision of educational services, relief and abandoned land services to former slaves (Campbell and Fraser, 62). The second outcome was the passing of the Fourteenth Amendment. The amendment stated that freed slaves were to be provided with civil liberties and citizenship inn order for them to be treated equally as their white counterparts.


Works Cited

Campbell, James and Rebecca Fraser. Reconstruction: People And Perspectives. California: ABC CLIO, 2008. Print

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

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