“The battle was done, the buglers were silent. Boneweary and bloodied, the American people, North and South, now faced the staggering challenges of peace.” After the Civil War, no one knew what to do next. The terrible conditions of the South after the war made it so no one wanted to participate in such a situation. When President Abraham Lincoln held office, he knew that the Union must be reassembled while treating the blacks respectfully which began the period of Reconstruction. Throughout this period, four presidents held office each trying to reform the poor conditions of the United States. Reconstruction ended when President Rutherford Hayes forced the Union troops to retreat from the southern states as a deal with the Democrats to grant him the spot of presidency. The success or failure of Reconstruction may have been one of the most controversial questions in all of history because the answer cannot be justified. The solution to the success or failure of Reconstruction depended on the intent of the matter. Based on the fact of the reunification of the Union, Reconstruction may be considered a success for accomplishing this goal. On the other hand, Reconstruction may also be recognized as a failure if the main idea revolved around the equality of the blacks. The situation regarded both aspects of Reconstruction. Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that this time period should not be labeled as a “failure” or a “success” because these are just arbitrary terms to define whether the conflict was good or bad which is solely a matter of opinion. Some of the intentions of Reconstruction were fulfilled, while other conditions of the Union remained the same. Many aspects of Reconstruction contributed to the success of the United States, but leaning towards the dissenting argument would be more legitimate. Reconstruction failed because blacks were not given complete equality when the Union troops retreated from the southern states. Many acts and tactics passed during this time show the failure of Reconstruction.
The initial reason for the failure of Reconstruction had to with the decline of the cotton picking and farming industry. “In 1790, a thousand tons of cotton was being produced every year in the South. By 1860, it was a million tons.” When Congress called for the abolishment of slavery, thousands of southern farmers lost money because of the decline of laborers who used to do the job for them. The farmers could no longer live off what they earned because of the dropped prices of crops. The infuriated southerners decided to abuse the freed slaves which began the corruption and chaos in the South.
Another reason for the failure of Reconstruction occurred most likely when Andrew Johnson held office after the assassination of President Lincoln. Had Lincoln remained president, the Reconstruction may have turned out a success for multiple reasons. Lincoln issued his ten percent plan in an attempt to easily reunite the South to the Union. This plan called for a State to be readmitted to the Union when ten percent of its people pledge their allegiance to the Union. In response, Congress issued the Wade-Davis Bill which called for fifty percent of a States population to swear oath to the Union. Congress issued this bill because they did not want to be so light on the southern states. Lincoln vetoes this bill wanting to get the country rebuilt. These attempts failed because they made no impact on the readmission of the southern states into the Union or the equality of blacks in the South.
When President Andrew Johnson became President following the assassination of Lincoln in 1865, he contributed to a number of successes, but many more failures as well. The Thirteenth Amendment was finally passed by Congress in 1865 which abolished slavery. This act qualified as a success of Reconstruction, but could also be considered a failure because laws against slavery in the South were not...