The affects of the Civil War, and the actions that led to the war were very detrimental to the United States. The nation was not in good shape, and was all divided up. President Abraham Lincoln saw this division, and wanted to reconstruct the nation, by restoring national unity. Reconstruction did not only restore national unity, but more importantly it helped the blacks gain the personal rights that they deserved. These two reasons show why Reconstruction was successful.
President Lincoln wanted to heal the wounds of the nation. He wanted to look past the war, and ahead to peace. President Lincoln spoke of this in his second inaugural address. His main purpose of Reconstruction was restoring national unity. President Lincoln wanted to do this by getting the states to come together. To be able to do this, Lincoln proposed the 10% Plan.
This plan stated that once 10% of the registered voters in a state had renounced succession, then they could rewrite a state constitution, and submit it for reentrance into the Union. Lincoln said, if they come back now, the Union would respect all property, except slaves. Soon after Lincoln had proposed these ideas, John Wilkes Booth assassinated him. When this occurred Andrew Johnson took over as president.
Very soon after he was sworn in, Johnson announced his plan of reconstruction, which was very similar to Lincolns. Andrew Johnson with the help of Congress drew up the Reconstruction Acts of 1867. These acts were very similar to Lincolns plan in that they required the states to draw up new constitutions before they could be readmitted to the Union. Through these acts, education soared. Every state started a system of public education, and began building schools.
Each state also trained teachers to fill the open spots in the schools. Through education, the nation gradually came to unity, and President Abraham Lincolns dream came true. Reconstruction was successful in restoring the nations unity. Reconstruction not only restored the nations unity, but it helped the slaves to gain personal rights. During this time, a freedmans life changed dramatically. One thing that changed was the blacks social lives.
Since blacks were now free, they were able to do as they please. Now blacks were able to travel, and find friends and family, that they had lost during slave trading. Now they could own property, and to sue, and be sued in court. Blacks could also legally participate in a religion, which they couldnt do during slavery.
They could now establish their own churches. This was important because these churches promoted black education, and helped freedmen who could not provide for themselves. Black churches were very helpful to the black community. Basically blacks gained more control over their personal lives, which they didnt have during slavery. During this time of Reconstruction, blacks lives also changed economically.
Blacks were no longer slaves, they were no longer under the whip. Most of them worked for very little wage, but anything was better than being a slave. Some blacks worked at sharecropping. This is where they farmed someones land and got half the earnings. The other half went to the landowner, which were usually wealth white men.
Sharecropping allowed blacks to make their own decisions, they could decide who would work, for how long would they work, and how hard they would work. It just simply gave blacks the right to what they wanted to do. Blacks lives changed politically during Reconstruction. While blacks were slaves they never had the chance to get an education, they were always out in the fields. Because of this most of them were illiterate.
But they were smart enough to realize that without the right to vote, they had no say so in the government. They protested, and in 1868, they were giving the right to vote. Very soon after almost every eligible black man had registered to vote. This was a very big step in the lives of the freedmen. It started them on the road to getting the rights to be treated as a human being, not an animal.
But even after the blacks had the right to vote, most were scared to. They were afraid .