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Discuss the successes and failures of Reconstruction. What Black gains made during Reconstruction were retained despite Democratic redemption of the Southern states? How did economic conditions in the nation, both North and South influence the end of Reconstruction? Characteristics and Impacts of American Reconstruction Uploaded by tyson_626 (4560) on Feb 10, 2005 {draw:rect} A revolution drowned in blood Reconstruction and African American political power The period of U.S. history known as Reconstruction, following the Civil War, lasted from 1865 to 1877. During this period, former slaves in the South made some of the most far-reaching gains that African Americans have seen in U.S. history. Those gains, ultimately drenched in blood, were not to be seen again until the civil rights struggles nearly 100 years later. The Civil War, which began in 1861 and lasted until 1865, was a profound social revolution. It brought an end to chattel slavery, which until that time had been the foundation for the rise of U.S. capitalism.

Although the victory of the North resulted in the end of slavery, that was not the stated aim of either President Abraham Lincoln or the industrial bourgeoisie that was the dominant social class in the North when the war commenced. The war began only as a result of the decision by most of the “slave states” to secede from the Union in 1861.

Lincoln refused to end slavery, assuring all slave owners who cooperated with the federal government that they would maintain “their property.” His eventual decision to issue the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation, which decreed the end of legal slavery, was fundamentally a military decision.

Without the enlistment of thousands of escaping slaves into the Northern army, the defeat of the Confederate army seemed remote. These newly enlisted Black soldiers, with their incredible resolve, determination and self-sacrifice, turned the tide. It was a case of law following reality: Slaves were...
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