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Impact Of Racism On Reconstruction

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Racism’s Impact on Reconstruction While the issue of slavery evidently contributed to the divide that resulted in the American Civil War, it is debated whether prevailing ideals of racism caused the failure of the era following the war known as Reconstruction. With the abolishment of slavery, many of the southern states had to reassemble the social, economic, and political systems instilled in their societies. The Reconstruction Era was originally led by a radical republican government that pushed to raise taxes, establish coalition governments, and deprive former confederates of superiority they might have once held. However, during this time common views were obtained that the South could recover independently and that African Americans…show more content…
While there were exceptions of individuals fighting for more than equality by law for African Americans, such as John D. Baldwin who argued “a question concerning human rights” (Frederickson 379), there were racist ideals held that transcended political parties and regional affiliations alike. Radical democrats sought the most resistance with political leaders such as Representative James Brooks who preached in opposition to integration by claiming “the negro is not the equal of the white man, much less his master” (Frederickson 379). Arguments of black inferiority became based upon the false ethnology presented by Josiah Nott that physically and mentally ranked the black race below other races. Even radical republicans became contradictory in their views claiming African Americans were different due to their inability to conquer and dominate like white people had; insinuating that white domination could not be challenged. Although there was a period following the Reconstruction Acts of 1867 and 1868 in which former slaves were granted citizenship, their involvement in politics became rendered by the lack of education previously provided to slaves and inability of “withstanding the economic, political, and paramilitary opposition of the white majority” (Frederickson 382). Frederickson argues African Americans simply did not have the time or preparation to oppose racist forces. Using paramilitary forces, southern redeemers easily made threats to reconstruction forces as seen through the emergence of the violent Ku Klux Klan during the election of 1866. The opportunity for African Americans to gain a stance in society was short lived by the racist efforts of democrats in the south and impartial ideals from
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