Essay on Reconstruction After the Civil War

934 WordsDec 23, 20054 Pages
The period of Reconstruction began during the Civil War and ended in 1877. This era is known for the advancements made in favor of racial equality. These improvements included the fourteenth amendment (citizenship and equal protection under the law to blacks) and the fifteenth amendment (voting rights for blacks) of the Constitution. Yet, with the end of Reconstruction in 1877, the Republican Party lost control of the southern governments and the Democratic Party took over. This shift in power was supposed to mark the beginning of the "New South" in which the virtues of thrift, industry, and progress would become the model characteristics of the South. However, the changes in the South from 1877-1900 reflected traditional attitudes and…show more content…
A major goal of the New South was to improve the region's industrial economy. This objective helped the South increase its number of textile factories dramatically. Since cotton planters had to transport their shipments to northern factories in the past, these new factories helped the southern farmers tremendously. Other industries that experienced an increase in production after Reconstruction were the tobacco-processing industry (James B. Duke founded the American Tobacco Company), the iron plus steel industry that boomed out of Birmingham, Alabama, and the railroad companies that helped the South double its amount of trackage from 1880-1890. Despite these industrial advancements, the South would never reach the impact industrialization had on the Northern economy. Also, in those areas of improvement, such as textiles and railroads, a large amount of the financial resources came from the North. The South's major economic source was still agriculture and this was in bad shape too. Tenant farmers, including debt peonage and the crop-lien system, made up 70% of the Southern planters by 1900. Many African Americans who had just been freed from slavery made up this percentage. They now were apart of a binding economic slavery. Although the South had improved its industry, it had not accumulated its goal of becoming an industrial region like the North. This fact, along with the agricultural hardships, had pushed the
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