Some historians argue that Reconstruction was a “recycled form of slavery.” Do you agree with this?
I disagree that reconstruction was a recycled form of slavery. Much of the Southern United States was destroyed during the Civil war. The rebuilding of the South after the Civil War is called the Reconstruction. The Reconstruction lasted from 1865 to 1877. The purpose of the Reconstruction was to help the South become a part of the Union again. The American Civil War preserved the Union and freed the slaves. However, during Reconstruction, a lack of political focus on the effort failed to solve the sectional wounds, and the elimination of the freed slaves’ newly gained civil liberties failed to bring about long-term racial integration. Reconstruction ended the remnants of Confederate secession and ended slavery, making the newly freed slaves citizens with civil rights ostensibly guaranteed by three new Constitutional amendments. The goals of reconstruction were to readmit and rebuild the Confederate states and help African Americans back into society. As a result, the mass of Southern blacks now faced the difficulty Northern blacks had confronted–that of a free people surrounded by many hostile whites. Even after the Emancipation Proclamation, two more years of war, service by African American troops, and the defeat of the Confederacy, the nation was still unprepared to deal with the question of full citizenship for its newly freed black population. The Reconstruction implemented by Congress, which lasted from 1866 to 1877, was aimed at reorganizing the Southern states after the Civil War, providing the means for readmitting them into the Union, and defining the means by which whites and blacks could live together in a non-slave society. The South, however, saw Reconstruction as a humiliating, even vengeful imposition and did not welcome it. Former slaves of every age took advantage of the opportunity to become literate. Grandfathers and their grandchildren sat together in classrooms seeking to obtain the tools of freedom. After the Civil War, with the protection of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution and the Civil Rights Act of 1866, African Americans enjoyed a period when they were allowed to vote, actively participate in the political process, acquire the land of former owners, seek their own employment, and use public accommodations. Opponents of this progress, however, soon rallied against the former slaves’ freedom and began to find means for eroding the gains for which many had shed their blood.
After the American Civil War, slavery was abolished and more than four billion slaves were freed. However, the southern states’ economies were also destroyed by numerous battles. In order to restore South to the Union, President Abraham Lincoln designed gradual compensated emancipation plans to help southern states gradually achieve the extinction of slavery. However, shortly after the end of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, a Democrat from Tennessee and former slaveholder Andrew Johnson was in power. Johnson offered a restoring policy to allow Southern whites to regain their political rights and all possessions except slaves. Besides, these governments were given a free hand in deciding their state affairs. They then enacted black codes, which asked African Americans to sign yearly labor contracts, which actually restricted black people’s freedmenâ€s economic options and reestablish plantation discipline. Therefore, it can be seen as a recycled form of slavery to some extent. However, there are also positive sides to the reconstruction era. For example, it ended the remnants of Confederate secession and ended slavery, giving black people more civil rights guaranteed by three new Constitutional amendments.
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