Reconstruction : The Second Greatest Crisis

1319 Words6 Pages
Reconstruction has been called the second greatest crisis faced by the United States of America, the first being the Civil War. The war had been won, but now the American government and people faced the challenge of rebuilding everything that had been torn down into a new nation. Many difficulties were faced, and in some ways the war continued to be fought. This time, everything from the courthouse to the bus seats served as the battleground. The nation was demanding change, and yet was unwilling to create it. Illustrating the rollercoaster of victories and defeats that was Reconstruction, W.E.B. Du Bois said, “The slave went free, stood a brief moment in the sun, then moved back again towards slavery”. For African Americans, change was painstakingly gradual and often seemed to far to ever arrive, but was nonetheless closer than ever before. Reconstruction was a failure to a mixed extent, initially yielding signs of social and political improvement in the lives of African Americans, but showing mostly negative effects in the long term, such as unfavorable economic developments and the triggering of a vicious response from white extremists that repealed much of the progress formerly made. After the Civil War, the dynamics of the South’s Economy were changing. Finally, they were moving away from agrarianism and towards the long-detested industrialism. This was in part a result of the destruction wrought economically and literally by the war. In fact, land had been
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