What is the legacy of Reconstruction? The Successes and Failures of our "Union"
After the Civil War ended, our country faced a huge task to rebuild the nation politically, economically, and socially. The South was physically destroyed, thousands of slaves were free but jobless and poor, and the states that seceded had to be reunited. These issues were all addressed in multiple forms of Reconstruction put in place by presidents Lincoln and Johnson and also Congress. Although many positive establishments came out of Reconstruction such as the Freedmen's Bureau and new rights for African Americans, overall Reconstruction left a legacy of racism and persecution due to black codes and hate groups like the KKK formed by vengeful ex-Confederates.
The Fifteenth Amendment gave African Americans the right to vote and represented one of the most positive legacies of Reconstruction. After blacks were freed and granted citizenship, even with persecution and racist attitudes especially in the South, they continued to fight for equal political rights through their service in the Union army, protests and strikes, religious arguments, the establishments of strong black communities, and the emergence of black political leaders. With their new right to vote, African Americans largely influenced politics. Although member of racist hate organizations such as the KKK tried to intimidate black voters through violence, African Americans continued to exercise their new freedom and paved the way for their fight for equal rights.