Federal Government During Civil War Essay

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America's republican form of representative government was premised upon the idea of three co-equal branches of government: Executive, Legislative, and Judicial. The three branches, in theory, operate independent of one another and serve as check upon one another. It is this structure of this government, the founders believed, that would retard any establishment of monarchial government that the American Revolution was fought upon. However the civil war, and more specifically the Reconstruction period following it tested these principles to the core. While it may be accurate to characterize governmental struggles that defined Reconstruction as ones that were inter-branch, a more detailed and nuanced survey reveals it was borne more so out…show more content…
Not long after the inception of the Articles of Confederation, it became clear that the several states functioning as independent units would not be able to provide a sufficient defense for the whole country. Following a constitutional convention, the present day Constitution was devised with a federal structure with three co-equal branches endowed with certain enumerated functions. During the period from the Revolution to the Civil war, America's branches of government had always been in constant conflict. However, the period of reconstruction brought this strife to the forefront. It is inaccurate per se, to characterize this strife as one solely of branches of government competing for supremacy; rather, it is better characterized as a struggle of competing political goals. To understand Reconstruction, it is important to understand how differing ideologies understood the goals of reconstructing this country following the Civil War. This period was defined by the two party system that we know today: Democrats and Republicans. Following Reconstruction, the outer reaches of the Republican Party were defined by complete redefinition of the south. Specifically, many Republicans advocated for ridding the southern aristocracy of their property as well as their life styles. During this period bills were introduced by Republican congressman to redistribute the wealth of the southern aristocracy from wealthy slave owner planters to newly freed slaves.
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