In 1865 the Union reigned victorious over the south and a new series of problems plagued the recently mended nation in a period of time called Reconstruction. Due to southern insubordination and racism towards former slaves throughout the period and subsequent years after, it is widely believed that reconstruction was unsuccessful. Although Reconstruction can be seen as a failure because years post were plagued with blatant racism and discrimination, it actually had a few redeeming qualities as it laid the foundations for civil rights and catalyzed the undercurrent for freedom.

15th Amendment

Fifteenth Amendment. N.p, 26 Feb. 1869. Smithsonian Primary Sources in U.S. History, Accessed 11 Jan. 2017.

The 15th amendment was enacted in an attempt to secure the ability of former slaves to vote during the era of Reconstruction. Although effects of this amendment was not immediately successful, as southerners utilized loopholes through literary tests and poll taxes to filter out black voters, this amendment laid down the groundwork for civil rights and the right for all people to vote. Because these laws were put in place and formalized during reconstruction period, people of all races can enjoy the freedom of voting.

Klu Klux Klan Music

Sutton, Emory. I'm a Klansman (Hooray!) Sheet Music. N.p, 1924. Smithsonian Primary Sources in U.S. History, Accessed 11 Jan. 2017.

During the era of Reconstruction, in order to discourage the act of Civil Rights and anti discriminatory sentiments, southern white supremacist Nathan Bedford founded the Klu Klux Klan. This is a clear illustration of the failures of Reconstruction as the KKK was a widely powerful and respected group in the era and severely hindered the development of an egalitarian society and civil rights as they sparked fear in the eyes of many. Because of this group, many black people were killed in their attempts to attain equal rights.

Black Voters

"First Reconstruction Act of 1867 EText.", n.d. Web. 17 Jan. 2017. <>.

Although many black people were persecuted and intimidated away from voting and exercising their rights as a US citizen, a small segment was able to cast their ballot and influence elections. Even though there were many obstacles in the way of black rights, reconstruction was a success in that it sparked the need as a community to attain equal rights and push for the civil rights movement. Because they were less repressed under the tyranny of slavery, they had a taste of freedom and what it meant to be a citizen which fueled civil rights movements in the future.


The age of Reconstruction is seen by most as a failure, although it has had profound impacts on equality and civil rights as we know them now. Impacts of the reconstruction period range from social to economic, as with the prejudice against black people and the introduction of more people into the advanced workforce through emancipation, more people were able to take more jobs outside the farms and fuel the need for westward expansion. Following the availability of new lands in the west and the need for work, many new jobs arose such as farming and cattle ranching. Overall, the reconstruction period, although not immediately successful lead to the development of the nation we know today.

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