Essay On The Importance Of Reconstruction

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Reconstruction, as applied to the period of 1865-1877, can collectively be defined as a time during which the former Confederate states were forced by the northern states into political and social change as a "prerequisite to full readmission to the Union" (Webster’s, p. 350). These former Confederates faced many challenges, the social change in personal attitude toward emancipation being perhaps the most difficult. Those whites who could not bring themselves to believe that they, in fact, were not superior to African Americans, and those who resented the idea, drastically slowed the process of Reconstruction. This was to be expected. Generations of white plantation owners had been brought up believing that slaves were property, to be trained and treated as we today treat common house pets. A sudden change in morality was undoubtedly hard to swallow. And then, there were those Southerners who feared the African Americans, because they knew they were not superior (at least not any longer). They feared uprisings, rebellions, and loss of income and…show more content…
Later, the sharecropping / crop-lien system encouraged African Americans to manage their own affairs, to the approval of some, but it also indebted them to the whites. Still, it too was a positive move toward Reconstruction's success. Also, the Fifteenth Amendment, institutionalizing equal rights for African Americans, was a positive move forward. Though poll taxes and tests were incorporated as a deterrent, African Americans winning the right to vote were an important factor. But many could not vote unless they were landowners. (It is interesting to hear note that African Americans won the right to vote decades before women did). This was one of the final steps toward Reconstruction from a political aspect during this time
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