April 26, 2013
During the Post-Civil War era (1865-1900) there were several reconstruction periods as well as a widespread Western industrialization occurring. After the war it seemed as if the entire country had to press the “reset” button and literally start afresh. There was a break down in the south after the Emancipation Proclamation freeing the slaves, Gen Custard destroyed cities, and what seemed to be a booming economy suddenly hit a brick wall. During this time, the U.S. experienced several reconstruction episodes. From the Presidential, Federal, Radical and State/Local reconstruction, the two most important reconstruction actions that tool place in my opinion were the Radical reconstruction period and the State/Local reconstruction period.
Under the Radical Reconstruction (1865-1867) there were two different things occurring. President A. Johnson assuming office, he had his hands full. Albeit his political affiliation and qualifications, many saw his plan for reconstruction for the South almost as damning as President Lincoln’s plan. While appearing to be some type of “Mosses” to the newly freed slaves, his intent was to appease and empower the Southern farmers and institute a real and equitable democracy in the South. Radical Republicans pushed him to include black suffrage. However, he was a strict constitutionalist who believed he had no power as president to unilaterally extend citizenship and suffrage. Although a firm nationalist, he also had a solid respect for states' rights. His goal was for states to assume their full rights as soon as possible.
Secondly there was a reconstruction going on in Congress as well. Congressional Republicans moved to the political left. Congress did not recognize southern representatives in Dec. 1865. Both houses formed a joint committee on Reconstruction to investigate whether any southern states deserved representation. Moderates...