Was Reconstruction more of a success, or more of a failure? Please use at least three examples to justify and explain your decision.

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This question looks for your opinion on a very complicated period in American history. In my opinion, I think Reconstruction was more of a failure. Southern states passed laws to limit African American suffrage, such as literacy tests and poll taxes. After the end of military Reconstruction, African American voter turnout dropped sharply. Poor whites could vote provided that they voted for Democrats. The Freedman's Bureau, while a good idea on paper, was not funded very well; the South remained poor for decades after the war. Sharecropping replaced slavery as the new way to keep the underclass down and it led to generational poverty for whites and blacks alike. Finally, the South lagged behind the rest of the nation in terms of education, investment, and wealth for years after the war. While Henry Grady spoke highly of the New South with its industrial opportunities, the South still did not receive a great deal of outside investment for rail production compared to the Western states. The South was eventually able to fund public education through property taxes, but without government incentives, this too lagged behind the rest of the nation. After the war, the federal government wanted to remain in the South for as little as possible. It would have been outside the norm at the time for government to become involved in private investment. Many areas of the South would remain poor until WWII when people left to fight or to work in defense industries. It took most of the region eighty years to get back on its feet--additional government capital and incentives may have helped.

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