How has reconstruction lived on today? By: PAtrick O'Shea


Since the end of the Civil war the US government put in action a plan to reconcile the south with the north. Although reconstruction was considered to have failed after the election of 1876 and the Government withdrew their troops from the former confederate states, allowing for the beginning of an era of increased racism and hostility towards African Americans in the south. The Reconstruction Era left a lasting impact on the country due this date, stemming both from it's failures and successes. In light of the above statement the effects of reconstruction can still be seen today in the success of the 13th amendment, and in the failure of allowing the KKK to exist and eventually thrive, and finally the NAACP was a prominent legacy of the failings of reconstruction.

Success of Reconstruction: The 13th Amendment

The 13th Amendment


The 13th Amendment could be considered one of the greatest legacies and success's of reconstruction. Not only was this the amendment that put Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation into law, freeing all people from the bondage of slavery. But the 13th Amendment's ratification was one of the crucial requirements for the former confederate states re-admittance into the union. Furthermore the 13th amendment has left an unprecedented and lasting impact on the United States as a whole. To this date it has protected the African American people, as well as others, from the bondage of slavery and protects them will the full force of congressional action if necessary seen in article two of the amendment..

Short comings of Reconstruction:

ku klux klan


One of the greatest short comings of the reconstruction era was the formation and rise of the KKK, which sadly still exists today. The widespread adoption of the KKK was a result of the union troops withdrawing from the south. Their withdrawal was a part of a compromise between democrats and republicans in the election of 1876. After the ensured government protection left the south the KKK began to spread their terror which included : preventing colored people from voting, increased discrimination, and lynching of those who wouldn't follow their commands. This failure effected the lives of many who spoke against their agenda especially throughout the 20th century. Finally the KKK's actions can still be seen today being a hotbed for white supremacy which only divides us as a nation further. The KKK can be seen as a wound that began in reconstruction and scars America to the date.

Legacy of Reconstruction:



One of the strongest and most prominent legacies of reconstruction, or at least a legacy of the era's failure is the NAACP. The NAACP was made in light of the failings of the Freedman's bureau. When reconstruction failed and the union troops left the south, African Americans were in dire straights. Luckily soon after the NAACP was formed, which protected the interests of Colored people until this date. They have maintained a constant support for minorities through civil and legal defense for those who don't have the means to protect themselves. All of their good works stem from the response to the direct failings of reconstruction and the freedman's bureau.


Although the civil war period was a very influential time period, the reconstruction era was arguably the most lasting and forming period of time in US history. The reconstruction era saw many success and failures that bleed over into today, especially prominent in the civil rights movements, and civil justice movements. The failings that lead to the KKK in reconstruction and eventually the NAACP in response to them and their lack of protection, can be seen today in movement such as the black lives matter movement, which tries to counteract an oppressive criminal justice system, similar to the NAACP. In regard to the above statements it is fair to say reconstruction has lived on too a great extent today.


Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution. N.p, 18 Dec. 1865. Smithsonian Primary Sources in U.S. History, Accessed 11 Jan. 2017.

"I'm a Klansman (Hooray!) Sheet Music." Smithsonian Primary Sources in U.S. History, Gale, 2016. Smithsonian Primary Sources in U.S. History, Accessed 17 Jan. 2017.

"Cover of the first issue of Crisis, a monthly journal sponsored by the NAACP. W.E.B. Du Bois edited..." Harlem Renaissance, edited by Christine Slovey and Kelly King Howes, UXL, 2001. U.S. History in Context, Accessed 17 Jan. 2017.

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