Reconstruction Failure


The reconstruction of the south was the period during and after the Civil War
where several different groups in the government tried to solve the economic,
political, and social problems that arose as a result of the Civil War. It was a
time of disorder and chaos. Southern whites rejected all forms of equality and
blacks wanted nothing but full freedom and land of their own. This led to
frequent and inevitable riots. Reconstruction lasted from 1865 to 1877 and was
one of the most controversial periods in the nation's history. People still
debate its successes and failures. Many people blames Reconstruction failure on
black politics, calling it "Negro government." Even some newspapers
that were in favor of Reconstruction blamed the black legislatures. Foner wrote,
"Ironically, even as racism waned as an explicit component of the Northern

Democratic appeal, it gained a hold on respectable Republican opinion, as a
convenient explanation for Reconstruction's failure." Black politicians
could have been the demise of Reconstruction. Another cause of Reconstruction
could have been the Court's intervention. Foner stated, "Previously, the

Court had proved reluctant to intervene in Reconstruction controversies. The

Compromise of 1877 between the Republicans and Democrats, occurring in January
of that year, was the solution to the contested Presidential election of 1876
and furthermore brought an end to the period of Reconstruction following the

Civil War. The banks could have also caused the failure of Reconstruction to
speed up. The Freedman's Savings Bank went under with no money to pay its
depositors. The bank held thousands of black's (Freedman) money. "In June

1874, with only $31,000 on hand to cover obligations to its 61,000 depositors,
the Freedman's Savings Bank suspended operations." One of the main reasons
for the failure of Reconstruction was the dropped prices of crops. Many farmers
and sharecroppers could not live off what they earned. The depression caused the
price of cotton to nearly drop by 50%. Many of the main crops such as: tobacco,
rice, and sugar also declined. "The depression disrupted commerce,
bankrupted merchants, seriously undermined the economic situation or artisans,
and all but eliminated prospects for social mobility among unskilled laborers of
both races." Reconstruction failure reflects on the people of America.

Presidential Reconstruction under Lincoln and Johnson demonstrates the
difficulties inherent in reshaping the South after the Civil War. The lack of
northern vision concerning the postwar South, disputes between Congress and the

Presidency over lines of authority, and the unwillingness of southern whites to
allow blacks any significant power in southern society were main reasons that

Reconstruction failed. Even though Reconstruction failed, at least we tried but
some people have to learn how to change. Reconstruction changed the way of life
for blacks. Some changes were good and some changes made life difficult, but
overall the blacks made it out of slavery safely. Reconstruction was the
original beginning of the Civil Rights Act. The fact that African-Americans had
made it so far gave them the strength to keep going and fight for what they
believe in.