Successes And Failures Of The Reconstruction Era

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Following the deadliest conflict in United States history, the federal government was confronted with the unprecedented task of establishing a modern economic system, settling a new and turbulent society, and rebuilding the ruins of the southern states. The Reconstruction era lasted from January 1, 1865, to March 31, 1877, and encompassed the years following the end of the civil war to the inauguration of President Rutherford B. Hayes. A Republican-controlled Congress imposed martial law, created the Freedmen’s Bureau to protect the newly-granted liberties of former slaves, and overrode a presidential veto to pass the first Civil Rights Act. Approaching these priorities proved to be divisive along political and racial lines; emancipationists called for African-Americans to be granted their full civil rights, moderates like Presidents Lincoln and Johnson wanted the government to treat former Confederates with leniency, and white supremacists like the first generation of the Ku Klux Klan terrorized communities with violence. Reconstruction policy took such a turbulent course and ultimately failed in building the South into a modern society …show more content…

For the century following the Civil War, “...the Reconstruction story had been shaped by successive generations of historians who gave Southern propaganda a gloss of historical authority. These scribes villainized the black politicians and the “Radical Republican” lawmakers who pushed Reconstruction-era reforms through Congress. “Carpetbaggers,” as the Northerners who moved south to work in politics and business were portrayed, became known as corrupt bandits rather than as the dedicated idealists that many of them were” (Murphy 56). Because Reconstruction policy was ultimately ineffective in changing Southern institutions, Southern attitudes towards racial and sectional relations remained unchanged as

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