Characteristics and Impacts of American Reconstruction Essay

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Characteristics and Impacts of American Reconstruction The key goals of Reconstruction were to readmit the South into the Union and to define the status of freedmen in American society. The Reconstruction era was marked by political, not violent, conflict. Some historical myths are that the South was victimized by Reconstruction, and that the various plans of Reconstruction were corrupt and unjust. Actually, the plans were quite lenient, enforcing military rule for only a short period of time, ignoring land reform, and granting pardons easily. The task of Reconstruction was to re-integrate America into a whole nation, securing the rights of each man and establishing order once again. There were three major Reconstruction…show more content…
Under Johnson’s plan, fifty percent of the voters in each Southern state who had voted in the 1860 election had to take an oath of loyalty to the Union. Then, each state was required to write new constitutions adopting the 13th amendment (Boyer, 444). Johnson repudiated Confederate war debts, and he also supported Black Codes. Johnson seemed sympathetic to Southern opinion at the expense of freedmen’s rights. He took steps to insure a dependant black work force for the South, and restricted the rights of African-Americans . Freedmen were not allowed to marry interracially, perform jury duty, or give testimony in court against whites. Johnson’s plan was fatally flawed; his requirement that each state adopt the 13th amendment was practically useless as it only dealt with Federal elections. State elections were more important to citizens during the Reconstruction era, and unless Johnson guaranteed State voting rights to freedmen he was offering them hardly anything at all. Also, Johnson supported Black Codes against Northern public opinion, which damaged him politically in the North. Finally, Johnson did not deal with land reform or economic aid, which was economically unsound. In Congress, the Radicals and Moderates were forced to join forces to overturn Johnson’s extremely lenient plan. Caught up in battles with Congress and an impeachment scandal until he left office, Johnson did not achieve his Reconstruction goals. Congress
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