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Reconstruction: A Success or Failure?

By Edited Mar 5, 2014 0 0

A civil war causes devastation on many magnitudes to all sides involved. The United States experienced a Civil War and began rebuilding their loyalty, economy, and equality towards minorities after 1865. This period of rebuilding the nation is called Reconstruction. Reconstruction was a success because it gave African Americans a leap towards equality, the Confederate States were readmitted to the Union, and industry flourished in the South.

                  The foundations of equality for African Americans were set in the United States. Many African Americans became state legislators in the South. In fact, over 600 African Americans became state legislators, and 16 of the men were able to join Congress. This gave African Americans equality because their people were at high positions, meaning that they had a representative. Men such as Hiram Revels and Blanche K. Bruce became very important figures such as United States senate and senator. The 14th Amendment gave African Americans and other minorities citizenship. This is what many African Americans, such as the Massachusetts 54th Regiment, fought for during the Civil War. This gave African Americans protection under the constitution. This amendment was so satisfying that Lloyd Garrison, a famous abolitionist, broke up his abolition organization. The 15th Amendment gave African Americans even more freedom by letting them vote. This allowed them to have a say in which man governed them.  The foundations of African American equality were set during Reconstruction.

                  The nation was politically united due to a number of factors. After Ulysses S. Grant was elected into presidency in 1869, republicans began to move to the South. Many were called carpet baggers, because they rolled their belongings in a carpet bag in a rush to get to the South. This is a sign of political unity because carpetbaggers were willing to live in a society of southerners. In 1877, the Democrats and republicans wrote and signed a compromise that politically united the United States. This compromise was called the Compromise of 1877. Hayes, a republican would become the president, but a Southern Democrat was put into the president’s cabinet of advisors. Also, all republican troops were removed from the South. Having a democratic representative in the cabinet allowed the South to be politically united with the North.

                  Industry skyrocketed in the South in a number of ways. The Southern economy was never consistent, as cotton prices rose and fell unexpectedly. But some people like Henry Grady, a newspaper editor, felt that industry was needed in the South. With a cheap and abundant work force, industry grew, factories were made, and a reliable economy was established. One of the South’s most valuable industries was the textile industry, especially due to the fact that the South was abundant with cotton to weave into cloth. Many farmers worked in mills because work life in the mills was dependable. Many workers were proud of themselves and the skills they used in the workplace. These mills created more money that fueled the economy. The economy also led to the building of many new facilities, and miles of railroad track. In fact, the nation had 364 railroad tracks in all! The track led to more production and got the Southern populace places faster. The Southern economy was becoming more reliable during Reconstruction.

                  In essence, Reconstruction was a success, largely due to the fact that the nation was politically united, the foundations of equality for African Americans were established and industry rose. And so like workers rebuilding a fallen skyscraper to new heights, the nation rebuilt its economy, equality for minorities, and political unity. Reconstruction was a success. 



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