An Evaluation of the Successes and Failures of Reconstruction After the Civil War

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The period of Reconstruction after the Civil War cannot be classified as either a success or a failure because there are many conflicting outcomes and differing opinions regarding this era. During this time, the United States was once again united but the government also failed to ensure and protect the rights of former slaves from white persecution. The South reverted to its old ways of discrimination when President Hayes removed Union troops in 1877. Reconstruction was a success in the sense that it restored the U.S. to a united country after the Civil War but at the same time a failure due to the collapse of the Radical Republican Party, the lack of acceptance of former slaves by whites and their unwillingness to give African Americans the rights they deserved. Several successes did emerge from this time period, keeping it from being a complete and total failure. Reconstruction did succeed in amalgamating the North and South into a singular country. Many steps were taken to ensure that the South was fairly reintegrated, including the Reconstruction Acts, which were passed in 1867. These included requirements for Southern states to be readmitted into the Union. These acts created five military districts in the South, each commanded by a general and policed by soldiers. Another success was the expansion of both Northern and Southern economy. Both areas were able to flourish exponentially with the help and support of their newly reunited counterparts. Industries boomed, more new products were on the market than ever before, and trade with other countries increased. Numerous laws were passed during the Reconstruction period regarding the rights of freedmen. The Freedmen’s Bureau was one notable organization out of many that helped ex-slaves acquire property, education, healthcare, and other benefits. The Civil Rights Act of 1866 granted citizenship and equal rights to all male persons in the U.S. “without distinction of race or color, or previous condition of...
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