Did Reconstruction Succede or Fail? Essay

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Did Reconstruction succeed or fail? I don’t think that Reconstruction can be described simply as a “failure” or a “success” however “The racial boundaries of nationality had been redrawn, but not eliminated.” (Foner, 576) Reconstruction raised questions like “Did freedom mean simply the absence of slavery, or did it imply other rights for former slaves, and if so, which ones: equal civil rights, the vote, ownership of property?” (Foner, 556) “To begin with freedom meant escaping the numerous injustices of slavery-punishment by the lash, the separation of families, denial of access to education, the sexual exploitation of black women by their owner-and sharing in the rights and opportunities of American citizens” (Foner, 557) There were a few positive aspects of Reconstruction such as the 13th, 14th, 15th amendments and the Civil Rights Act and there were negatives aspects such as the Black codes. The black codes were laws passed by the southern state governments that attempted to regulate the lives of former slaves. (Foner, 570). Another unfortunate reality of reconstruction was the system of sharecropping. “As the years went on sharecropping became more and more oppressive” (Foner, 564) The reality was that African Americans wanted land of their own, not jobs on plantations. Some of the most significant changes during the period known as Reconstruction were the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments and The Civil Rights act. “The Reconstruction amendments transformed the Constitution from a document primarily concerned with federal-state relations and the rights of property into a vehicle through which members of vulnerable minorities could stake a claim to freedom and protection absent misconduct by all levels of government.” (Foner, 576) This quote from the text is specifically referring to the 14th amendment to the constitution which “placed in the Constitution

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