How much did Reconstruction transform the South and the nation?  What were its limitations?

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For white southerners, Reconstruction felt like the imposition of a punishment for the Civil War. They felt that their whole way of life was under attack and that things would never return to how they used to be before the war. As virtually all white southerners were racists and white...

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For white southerners, Reconstruction felt like the imposition of a punishment for the Civil War. They felt that their whole way of life was under attack and that things would never return to how they used to be before the war. As virtually all white southerners were racists and white supremacists, they reacted with horror and indignation at the Federal government's drive towards greater equality, seeing it as a threat to everything they'd always believed about race relations.

For African Americans, however, it was a completely different story. For them, Reconstruction meant being able to vote, stand for public office, and enjoy property rights for the first time. It meant that, at long last, their civil rights were now being acknowledged. African-Americans were no longer slaves but citizens, able to participate fully in the political life of the nation.

As for the United States as a whole, public opinion eventually turned against Reconstruction, seeing it as a prolongation of the Civil War and all its tensions. The more unpopular it became, the more Northern voters turned against it, leading the governing Republican Party to abandon the policy, and with it the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of millions of black Americans.

The main problem with Reconstruction was that it required sustained political will at the highest level to make it work. And as the policy became increasingly unpopular, such will became more and more difficult to maintain until it evaporated altogether.

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Reconstruction had a major impact on the South as well as on the entire nation. Reconstruction was needed after the Civil War ended to rebuild the South.  The South was devastated politically, socially, and economically by the Civil War.

As a result of Reconstruction, the South was rebuilt. The South, which had mainly been known for its farming before the Civil War, began to diversify its economy after the Civil War.  Industries began to develop in the South.  This helped the economy grow. Reconstruction also worked to change the South socially and politically.  Former slaves were given voting rights, and eventually African Americans ran for office.  There was an attempt to bring more equality to the races together as a result of Reconstruction.

Reconstruction impacted the nation because it brought the country back together again. This was good for economy of the United States, not just for the southern economy.  It also was good to have the country united instead of divided. It additionally raised the question of equality and rights for African Americans.  It brought awareness to people of the inequalities that had existed before the Civil War.  It attempted to level the playing field, especially in the South.

There were limits to Reconstruction.  Since some of the changes in South (especially political and social ones) required a change of attitude, the question of what would happen when the military left the South was a very valid one.  Many white southerners were waiting for the military to leave so they could return the old ways of life to the South.  After Reconstruction ended, many of the improvements that were made for African Americans were reduced, restricted, or eliminated. This was especially true for political and social improvements.  Even economically, African Americans struggled.

Reconstructed impacted the country, but it also had limitations.

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