The Reconstruction held out the promise to rectify racial injustices in America. The Reconstruction, rising out of the Civil War had as its goals equality for blacks in voting, politics, and use of public services. Even though movement, was born of high hopes it failed in bringing about their goals. Born in hope, they died in anguish, as the movement saw many of their gains washed away.The Reconstruction came after the Civil War and lasted till 1877.
The political, social, and economic circumstances after the Civil War defined the goals of Reconstruction. At this time the Congress was separated politically on issues that grew out of the Civil War: black justice, rebuilding the South, readmitting Southern states to the Union, and deciding who would control government. Newly freed slaves wandered the South after having left their former masters, and the white population was morally devastated, troubled about what laid further on.
After the Civil War, a variety of political groups were scrambling to further their agendas. They also wanted to limit the rights of blacks to move, vote, travel, and change jobs. Republicans wanted to follow a policy of understanding between the North and South, but at the same time make sure slavery was abolished Republicans, comprised of Northern politicians, were strongly opposed to slavery, unsympathetic to the South,wanted to protect newly free slaves. At the end of the Civil War came President Andrew Johnson. His major goal was to unify the nation.The Black Codes and President Johnson’s veto of all Reconstruction legislation that was unfavorable to the South caused Moderate and Radical Republicans to change their goals from just ending slavery looking for political fairness and voting rights for blacks. The new goals were based on humanitarian and political considerations.
Northerners had grown more and more understanding of the troubles of the blacks in the South following many well-publicized incidents in which innocent blacks were harassed, beaten, and killed. The extension of suffrage to black males was a political move by the Republicans in Congress who believed that blacks would form the stamina of the Republican Party in the South.Few blacks held elective offices in the South’s population. And those in office usually did not exercise the power, which during Reconstruction continued to reside with Moderate and Radical Republicans in Congress emancipated slaves had little to do with either fashioning Reconstruction policy or its implementation.
The leaders of the Reconstruction failed to understand that without economic justice blacks would be forced into a dependency on the white power structure to protecttheir rights and when these rights no longer served the interests of this power structure they were easily stripped away. Reconstruction Acts and Constitutional Amendments offered little protection to stop this stripping away of black political rights.The Reconstruction leaders failed to understand the relationship between political rights and economic power; if they had they might not have discarded measures that could have provided former slaves with the economic power to continue their political rights.The Reconstruction left blacks with no economic support, dependent on others for their social and political power. The Reconstruction, when those political alliances did not serve the needs of the whites in power, blacks was deserted and theyre political and social goals wiped out.
Though, the Reconstruction held out great promise and hope to blacks in America, it failed to achieve their large goals and in following decades much of their accomplishments washed away. Yet, it brought major permanent changes. The Reconstruction ended slavery. The failing of the Reconstruction is not as simple as racism, politics, or individual events; to single out one to explain such complex periods gives an unfinished picture of both history and the nature of racism.