Reconstruction after the American Civil War
The “winner” of Reconstruction was the North mainly due to the fact that the South took most of the damage from the Civil War. The Civil War brought destruction to the South, its economy suffered from all the costs, the land suffered from all the battles, the people suffered due to Sherman, and African Americans were fighting a tough battle with the North on their side and the South against them. The South had much more Reconstruction to do than the North, so in the “race” to see who would “win” Reconstruction the North would likely be claimed the victors.
The South States, during Johnson’s presidency, were soon electing their new representatives for Congress. In December 1865 the newly elected Southern legislators arrived in Washington to take their seats (378). 58 of them had previously sat in the Congress of the Confederacy, 6 had served in the Confederate cabinet, and four had fought against the United States as Confederates generals (378). Johnson pardoned them all but Congress refused to admit the newly elected legislators (379). Even though Congress wanted to help the South and through Reconstruction they saw that Johnson was favoring the South and that the newly elected legislators would only cause more problems for the country, causing the South’s political situation to not be in any good shape.
Because the Civil war was fought mostly on Southern land many of the Southern state governments faced the challenge of rebuilding a battle-scarred region (384). The economic costs of the war were devastating for the South. Property value plummeted, hose who had invested in Confederate bonds couldn’t get their money back, and many small farms were destroyed (384). For the people in the South the wealth per capita among whites dropped from $18,000 in 1860 to about $3,000 in 1870 (384). Union General William T. Sherman estimated that his troops alone destroyed about $100 million worth of Southern property in Georgia and South Carolina