Reconstruction Memorial Project By: anjeli dubey

The Reconstruction Period occurred after the civil war in an effort to restore the South’s society and economy and improve blacks’ political and economic rights. The North consistently attempted at establishing civil rights after the war within the South, which resulted in a constant conflict between the South over officeholders and the rights of freedmen. To what extent did the North’s attempts to establish civil rights within the South increase the division between the North and South? Although Congress aimed to establish civil rights, Southerners highly disapproved of their attempts in that it limited their own which increased the division between the North and South and ultimately led to the failure of establishing equal rights for blacks.

The Congress succeeded in passing the 14th amendment which gave blacks equal protection and due process of law and the 15th amendment which gave all citizens the right to vote regardless of race. These two amendments enraged southerners. For instance, Governor Robert Patton of Alabama urged the Alabama legislature not to pass it, and most Southerners found it "humiliating". Having just finished the war and aiming to secure their citizens' rights, it was difficult for the southerners to adjust to the freedoms and rights that were given to blacks. This increased the division between the North and South in that many of the members in Congress consisted of Northern Republicans who fought for civil rights when the Southerners wanted the security of their own political rights, not the freedmen.
The 14th amendment prohibits any former Confederate leader from holding state or federal offices. This in turn would allow blacks' political and economic rights to increase as former Confederate leaders primarily aimed to limit their rights. In addition, the Report of The Joint Committee doesn't allow Southern senators and representatives to take their seat in Congress, limiting southerner's political rights in an effort to ultimately establish civil rights. This increased the division between the North and South in that it gave the South less representation in the Congress, which allowed Northerners to try to establish civil rights for blacks.
This picture represents the author's response to the Compromise of 1877, a deal between the two political parties in which Hayes was elected as president if the Republicans withdrew their federal troops in the South and supported the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad. Although this compromise led to the end of the Reconstruction period in that the lack of a military presence in the South substantially prevented the establishment of civil rights in turn for Hayes as president, Thomas Nast is conveying the idea that this was a truce rather than a compromise. The legacy of the Reconstruction was the industrialization of the South and the North's failure in establishing civil rights.

To conclude, the North's attempts in establishing civil rights within the South increased the division between the North and South in that Southern representation in government was limited and Southerners disapproved of the idea of adjusting to the improvement of the rights of freedmen. The Reconstruction Period correlates with the Civil Rights Movement in 1950's and 1960's because in both occurrences, a multitude of people fought without violence for the establishment of civil rights such as voting rights. However, it differed in that the reconstruction failed to achieve this goal whereas the Civil Rights Movement did not.

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