Victoria Hubble February 8, 2000 Reconstruction Essay The Reconstruction, a time most people would call a rebirth, succeeded in few of the goals that it had set out to achieve within the 12 years it was in progress. It was the reconstructions failure in its objectives, that brought forth the inevitable success in changing the South, as well as the countless African Americans living in it as well as the countless African Americans living in it at the time. There were three goals the reconstruction set, and failed to achieve, as well as emphasizing the profound effect it had on the south, and an entire race. In the South the Reconstruction period was a time of readjustment accompanied by disorder. Southern whites wished to keep blacks in a condition of quasi-servitude, extending few civil rights and firmly rejecting social equality.Order now
Blacks, on the other hand, wanted full freedom and, above all, land of their own. Inevitably, there were frequent clashes. Some erupted into race riots, but acts of terrorism against individual black leaders were more common. During this turmoil, Southern whites and blacks began to work out ways of getting their farms back into operation and of making a living. Indeed, the most important developments of the Reconstruction era were not the highly publicized political contests but the slow, almost imperceptible changes that occurred in southern society. Blacks could now legally marry, and they set up conventional and usually stable family units; they quietly seceded from the white churches and formed their own religious organizations, which became a central point for the black community.
Without land or money, most freedmen had to continue working for white masters; but they were now unwilling to labor in gangs or to live in the old slave quarters under the eye of the plantation owner. The governments set up in the Southern states under the congressional program of Reconstruction were, contrary to traditional cliches, fairly honest and effective. Though the period has sometimes been labeled "Black Reconstruction," the Radical governments in the south were never dominated by blacks. There were no black governors, only two black senators and a handful of congressmen, and only one legislature controlled by blacks. Those black who did hold office appear to have been about equal in competence and honesty to the whites. it is true that these Radical governments were expensive, but large state expenditures were necessary to rebuild after the war and to establish–for the first time on most southern states–a system of common schools.
Corruption there certainly was, though nowhere on the scale of the Tweed Ring, which at that time was busily looting New York City; but it is not possible to show that Republicans were more guilty than Democrats, or blacks than whites, in the scandals that did occur. If the Civil War was fought to set black slaves free, then Reconstruction proved to be a fight to limit their freedom. Political power was gained by former slaves during the late 1860s, but any power gained was all but gone by the end of the 1880s. Blacks were given liberty in name only for the most part. They were not allowed to develop nor use the skills necessary to take advantage of that liberty in Americas unique system of democracy and capitalism. For most African Americans living in the south during the Reconstruction era, life changed dramatically from enslavement, to a life of limited rights.
Even though the reconstruction offered them a few unreliable rights, it failed to offer them the equal amount of social, economic, and political freedoms. It was these three contributing factors that participated in changing the south. The Reconstruction was started by the freed slaves who rallied and protested for civil rights as well as justice. In addition to this, Radical Republicans from 1865 to 1877 temporarily wiped out each state in the Souths system of government. All of the "black codes", a series of laws that forced blacks to sign labor contracts requiring them to work at a job for a full year, laws that permitted employers to whip black workers, and laws that allowed states to jail unemployed blacks and hire out their children, that violated or contradicted the equality .