After the Civil War, the nation witnessed two major social-economic movements: Reconstruction and Industrialization Essay, which changed the country completely and made it one of the greatest industrialized countries in the world. However, it changed not only the country, but also, the society, its way of life and traditions.
The effort to rebuild the southern states and restore the Union was known as Reconstruction, a period that lasted from 1865 to 1877. Several different plans for Reconstruction emerged during and after the war. Much debate about differing plans centered on who would control Reconstruction – the President or Congress.
Lincoln had wanted to adopt a mild and forgiving policy toward the defeated rebels. The Radical in Congress, however, thought the South ought to be punished. They also felt that Congress and not The President should make Reconstruction policy. After Lincoln’s death, his Vice President Andrew Johnson, wished to continue Lincoln’s proposals. He enraged the Radicals, who controlled Congress, by vetoing some of their measures. Johnson’s failure to consider congressional views on Reconstruction and his efforts to block radical plans, finally led Republicans in Congress to attempt to impeach him.Order now
At his trial in the Senate, Johnson was acquitted by a razor-thin margin and even thought he was acquitted, his political power was gone.
Now the Republican-controlled Congress dictated the terms of Reconstruction. The chief features of this so-called Radical Reconstruction included: the division of the South into five military districts controlled by the U.S. Army, while new state constitutions and governments were being set up; the requirement of the new state governments to grant African American males the right to vote; and the requirement of southern states to ratify the Fourteen amendment. In addition to addressing several civil rights issues, the amendment prohibited many former Confederate officers and government officials from voting.
This period of Radical Reconstruction did not bring much change in the South. Although blacks began to participate in political life, they met tremendous hostility. Some Southern whites adopted a policy of terror to keep the freedmen from becoming too independent. Because blacks had no jobs or land they became sharecroppers in a kind of economic slavery.
Grant won election in 1868, and Congress became free to follow its Radical Reconstruction policies. It successfully proposed the Fourteenth and the Fifteenth Amendments.
However, a major depression occurred in 1873. In addition, public attention was diverted by the graft and corruption in President Grant’s cabinet. Corruption in the Grant administration weakened the political strength of the Republican Party. In addition, by the early 1870s, all but a handful former Confederates could vote again. Most of these white southern males now voted Democratic in reaction to Radical Republican Reconstruction. For most of the next century, the Democratic party would dominate voting in the South, giving rise to the term solid South.
The emergence of the solid South gave the Democrats greater power in politics at the national level. In 1876, Democrats nominated Tilden, the governor of New York, to run for President against Republican Rutherford B. Hayes, the governor of Ohio. It was a disputed election. Politicians and businessmen worked out a deal, and Republican Hayes was declared the winner. In the compromise of 1877, Democrats agreed to go along with the commission’s decision in returns for promises by Hayes to withdraw federal troops from the South, thus ending Reconstruction; name a southerner to his cabinet; and support federal spending on internal improvements in the South.
Thus, Southerners assumed full control. During the next twenty years, they took steps to stop blacks from voting. They also introduced a policy of complete segregation of the races.
The most important legacy of Reconstruction has proved to be three amendments to the Constitution. The Thirteenth abolished slavery, the Fourteenth guaranteed the rights of citizens, and the Fifteenth gave black people the constitutional right to vote. And even thought these amendments did not bring freedom to African-American people at first, anyway it was an important step in American history.
From Reconstruction to World War I, the United States developed a prosperous industrial economy that revolutionized American society. After the Civil War, the growing northern factories looker to overseas markets for their goods. Meanwhile, completion of the transcontinental railroad opened new markets .