How The Failure/ Success of Reconstruction Affects Us Today

WRITE a 750-1000 word essay on the following topic. YOU MUST include a bibliography (that does not count towards your word count – the word count is the body of the paper only) and you must use at least 5 scholarly, official, or reliable resources – i.e. CREDIBLE sources, not bunk. (if you don’t know what that means, then I suggest searching for such topics as “Where to find credible sources for college papers” and the like).

Reconstruction is the period in U.S. history following the end of the Civil War in 1865 and running through 1877. During this time attempts were made to correct the inequities of slavery and the political, social, and economic legacy that arose from it. Following readmission of the 11 former Confederate states, the nation went into a rebuilding period that was rife with conflict. In some cases, historians consider Reconstruction not an end of the Civil War, but a continuation of it.

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Slavery as a legal institution was abolished, but slavery in other forms became established and while the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments were meant to ensure the rights of former slaves (at least the men anyway), in the Southern States, those Amendments saw massive resistance.

The history of the period is complex, but in the end, in 1877, Congress and Radical Republicans had grown weary of federal involvement in the south and Federal troops were withdrawn in 1877 returning control of the south to southerners and marking the beginning of the period known as “Redemption.”

By and large, historians consider Reconstruction a failure as the advances made by former slaves were largely stripped away by Black Codes and Jim Crow Laws in the South. These restrictions were enforced by an organization called the Ku Klux Klan, a domestic terrorist group that resorted to intimidation, violence, and murder. The violence that became so pronounced, it forced President Ulysses S. Grant to declare martial law in 1871 and sign into the law The KKK Act, also known as the Civil Rights Act of 1871. This law gave the president for the first time had the power to suppress state disorders on his own initiative and suspend the right of habeas corpus. Grant did not hesitate to use this authority.

Shortly after Congress approved the law, nine counties in South Carolina, where KKK terrorism was rampant, were placed under martial law and thousands of persons were arrested.

How has the failure and/or successes of the Reconstruction Era affected us to this day?

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