Essay on How the Failure of Reconstruction Impacted African Americans

885 Words 4 Pages
After a war that claimed the lives of more men than that of all other wars combined, much of the country was left in ruins, literally and figuratively. Dozens of towns in the South had been burned to the ground. Meanwhile, the relations between the North and South had crumbled to pieces. Something needed to be done so that the country could once again be the United States of America, not the Divided States of America. The years from 1865 to 1877 were a time of rebuilding – the broken communities and the broken relations. This time period was known as Reconstruction. Reconstruction was a failure on the basis that the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments that were passed should have given protection and freedom to the African …show more content…
These rules closely resembled the rules of the plantation just a few years earlier during slavery. Although slavery was now technically illegal, the government never made any attempt to intercede and stop these practices that essentially put African Americans forever in debt and under the control of the whites. The 14th Amendment to the Constitution defined citizenship as anyone born in the U.S. or naturalized, thus giving citizenship to African Americans. Like the 13th amendment, the 14th was not enforced. Had this amendment had been enforced, as citizens of the United States the most basic rights of black people should have been protected, like any other citizen. However, they were continually marginalized. If a crime was committed against them, the legal system turned a blind eye. If they were in need, no one would offer a helping hand. The government largely funded public white schools, whereas African Americans had to raise much of their own funding for their schools. Although they raised a large sum of money, it was still insufficient to educate the millions of newly freed children and adults (Franklin 250). These are just a few examples of the inequality experienced by blacks. The Civil Rights Act of 1866 explicitly states that African Americans do have citizenship “regardless of race
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