• What problems did Reconstruction resolve? What problems did it fail to resolve?

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Reconstruction dealt with inequality at the formal, rather than substantive level. So although it allowed African Americans to vote for the first time and hold public office, it did little or nothing to deal with the underlying problems that had given rise to their subjection in the first place. Though advocates of Reconstruction were committed to formal equality, in keeping with virtually all white Americans at the time, they did not believe in substantive equality between the races. The general attitude that prevailed was that African Americans were racially inferior, and although they should enjoy legal and political equality, it was held they were not entitled to anything more than that. This attitude strongly influenced the enforcement of Reconstruction measures—or rather, the lack of it.

Supporters of Reconstruction seriously underestimated how much sustained political energy was required to make it work. As time went on, such energy inevitably waned. Most Americans, both North...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 714 words.)

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