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In what ways was Reconstruction a failure?In what ways was Reconstruction a failure?

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ilove2learn2010 | Student, Grade 9 | Honors

Posted September 20, 2010 at 5:10 PM via web

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In what ways was Reconstruction a failure?

In what ways was Reconstruction a failure?

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brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 20, 2010 at 5:15 PM (Answer #2)

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Reconstruction was the period from 1865 - 1877 where the government of the United States tried to put the country together again after the Civil War.  In general, historians consider it an unsuccessful effort for several reasons.

Politically, the government did convince southern states to rejoin the Union in a fairly simple process.  They also managed to pass the 13th, 14th and 15th amendment.  Past that, not much went well.

The Freedmen's Bureau was underfunded and cut short, leaving the vast majority of free slaves uneducated and still in the South.  There was no land reform, meaning slaves were forced into a sharecropping system and did not own their own farms, which might have made them more independent, equal and successful.

The Black Codes and other laws restricting former slaves, though clearly unconstitutional, were not challenged in court or struck down by local military authorities, leaving African-Americans virtually unprotected and subject once again to working for whites involuntarily.

And finally, the effort of Reconstruction was cut off after only 12 years, leaving the economy of the South still in ruins and its population largely in poverty.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 20, 2010 at 5:15 PM (Answer #3)

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The most obvious reason that Reconstruction was a failure can be seen if you just think about the status of African Americans in the years after Reconstruction ended.

One of the major points of Reconstruction was to make blacks equal citizens in the eyes of the law (as the Civil War Amendments made clear).  But this really did not happen.  As soon as Reconstruction ended and the Southern states were allowed to do what they wanted, they imposed segregation on blacks and did all sorts of things to prevent them from voting.

In addition, Reconstruction failed to help blacks economically.  They did not get the "40 acres and a mule" that they hoped for and so they continued to be poor farm workers who pretty much had to work for the rich landowners.  This was not much different from how things had been during slavery.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 20, 2010 at 5:23 PM (Answer #4)

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I would say that Reconstruction has to be considered somewhat lacking in that the issue of how White America dealt with Black America was never quite resolved.  The fundamental issue of Reconstruction involved attempting to bring together the Northern and the Southern states.  Yet, underlying all of this was the fundamental issue of the "color line."  This was a reality that was never quite fully understood at the time and its premise was never quite dealt with from a governmental standpoint.  The fact that segregation practices became common in the South only proved to exacerbate the regional tension between both.  In not being able to fully dissolve and eradicate this particular fear, Reconstruction has to be seen as something that had more problems to solve that weren't solved than more deliverance of positive elements for all of America.

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krishna-agrawala | College Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted October 4, 2010 at 8:36 PM (Answer #5)

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In the history of the United states reconstruction refers to the period between 1861 and 1865, when efforts were made, after the civil war, to restore the relations between North and the South, to improve status of the blacks and, to restore normalcy in the country.

While the country was able to reunite effectively the the country, it did nod do much to improve the condition of the blacks. Also it failed to solve the economic problems of the South.

Though new governments banned discrimination and gave blacks the right to vote, the deep rooted prejudice of the white against blacks persisted and it was reflected in many legal practices that were allowed to continue. For example, a series of laws called black codes enabled Southerners to exercise substantial control over free slaves. Blacks were obliged to sign year long contracts and whipping them was still permitted. In addition, blacks faced violent attacks from whites, who refused to accept the new laws.

South was also plagued by economic problems. The agriculture failed to recover fast enough. The industrial development could not take off because Southerners lacked money to invest in industries.

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lrwilliams | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted October 26, 2010 at 4:25 PM (Answer #6)

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The point of emphasis of reconstruction after the Civil war was to help black Americans become equal citizens. This obviously met with a lot of resistance from groups in the south. While laws were put into place to give rights to the former slaves the southerner's did not agree with them or abide by them.

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thisguy1290 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 10, 2011 at 3:09 PM (Answer #7)

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In the history of the United states reconstruction refers to the period between 1861 and 1865, when efforts were made, after the civil war, to restore the relations between North and the South, to improve status of the blacks and, to restore normalcy in the country.

While the country was able to reunite effectively the the country, it did nod do much to improve the condition of the blacks. Also it failed to solve the economic problems of the South.

Though new governments banned discrimination and gave blacks the right to vote, the deep rooted prejudice of the white against blacks persisted and it was reflected in many legal practices that were allowed to continue. For example, a series of laws called black codes enabled Southerners to exercise substantial control over free slaves. Blacks were obliged to sign year long contracts and whipping them was still permitted. In addition, blacks faced violent attacks from whites, who refused to accept the new laws.

South was also plagued by economic problems. The agriculture failed to recover fast enough. The industrial development could not take off because Southerners lacked money to invest in industries.

Honestly, if you don’t know history please don’t post stuff like it’s a fact.  I knew to stop reading your post from the first sentence.

“In the history of the United states reconstruction refers to the period between 1861 and 1865, when efforts were made, after the civil war, to restore the relations between North and the South, to improve status of the blacks and, to restore normalcy in the country.”

How are you going to tell people that reconstruction was a failure when you think it took place during the civil war?  Reconstruction didn’t even start until 1865; in no way did it end at this time.

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 15, 2011 at 11:27 AM (Answer #8)

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The objective of Reconstruction was to get the South back on its feet, economically speaking. Much of the area had been damaged in the war, down to whole cities being razed. There was also the problem of freeing the slaves, which crippled the plantations. Unfortunately, the South resented intrusion by the North, and there was no real reconstructing.

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