“America’s Post-Civil War Growing Pains”
Reconstruction and Industrialization 1865-1900
Four years after the first shots were fired at Fort Sumter the Civil War ended with the Union’s Victory over the Confederacy. Though the war was over, there were still many problems that needed to be resolved in order to reunite the states as a nation. The time period in which steps were taken to rebuild the nation is known as reconstruction. Reconstruction lasted from 1865 until 1877. The influence of reconstruction can be seen in the society and also in politics during that time period. Following Reconstruction the nation had to rebuild its economy; industrialization brought in more factories and industries which helped to provide jobs to citizens of the newly reunified states. Though there were negative and positive aspects to reconstruction and industrialization these two concepts molded the United States into the country it has become today.
Post civil war reconstruction was needed in order to unite the states. In 1863 Abraham Lincoln created guidelines that explained what needed to take place in order for a state to be considered reconstructed. These guidelines became known as the Ten-Percent Plan. The Ten-Percent Plan declared that once 10% of the persons who voted in the 1860 election in that state swore an oath of allegiance to the United States that state would be considered reconstructed, and could set up a new state government (Schultz 2012, p. 277). This plan was challenged by the Wade-Davis Bill which wanted the percentage to be fifty instead of ten however; the bill was vetoed by President Lincoln (Schultz 2012, p. 277). Lincoln’s 10% plan only remained in place for two years. When Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in 1865, Andrew Johnson took his place as the President of the United States.
Andrew Johnson and Abraham Lincoln were opposites in the political realm. In fact Lincoln selected Jackson as his running mate in order to show unity between northerners and southerners, and democrats and republicans (Schultz 2012, p. 278). President Johnson did not do a good job in reuniting the north and south during reconstruction. Promptly after taking office President Johnson put into action his plan for reconstruction. This plan included granting amnesty to Confederate persons if they took a loyalty oath to the United States and also pardoned Confederate leaders who were not able to take the oath (Schultz 2012, p. 278). This allowed previous leaders of the confederacy to reclaim their power after the War. If Lincoln had not been assassinated these confederate leaders would not have been able to reclaim their power so easily. The leniency of Johnson’s reconstruction plan allowed for the south to continue discriminating against African American persons (Reconstruction, n.d.). It is proven that Johnson did not care much for the well being of African American people. Under President Johnson southern states imposed black codes on African Americans. These black codes kept African Americans oppressed and were similar to the black codes that were in place before the Civil War (Schultz 2012, p. 279). It can be debated that if Lincoln would not have been assassinated many of the problems African Americans had to face in the south would not have been implemented. This argument is supported by Johnson’s veto of the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and racist comments he made following the rejection of the bill (The Politics of Andrew Johnson, n.d.). Also, Johnson did not try to stop the south from imposing black codes on African Americans. Following Reconstruction was the Industrial Revolution. Charles More describes industrialization as both the absolute growth of industry, and its expansion relative to the other sectors of the economy, those being agriculture and services (2000, p.3). Industrialization first took place in England, the favored results of this movement encouraged its expansion (Schultz 2012,...