Reconstruction SINCE RECONSTRUCTION WAS AN ERA OF SOCIAL, POLITICAL, AND CONSTITUTIONAL CONFLICT THAT HAD NOBLE INTENTIONS BUT LIMITED SUCCESSES, Radical Republican legislation ultimately failed to protect former slaves from white persecution and failed to engender fundamental changes to the social fabric of the South. How did the beginning of the Republican Liberal party initiate the downfall of Reconstruction?


Since Reconstruction was an era of social, political, and constitutional conflict that had noble intentions but limited successes, the Reconstruction period’s attempts to support and establish former enslaved African american rights following the Emancipation and the position of politically influencing individuals and nationally impacting establishments failing to represent the symbolism and the constitutional beliefs of equality, there was great resistance to change; attempts to reconstruct the South ended leaving white-only governments in power. The reconstruction period was highlighted by conflicts in politics, clashing ideologies, and failed policies. However, the reconstruction’s failure to produce just civil rights was due to failed leadership and failure to capitalize on a union victory. In all, the display of Northern disregard and White Supremacy ultimately led to the failure of the reconstruction period. Once the Radical Republicans in Congress took over the Reconstruction, the Blacks gained more civil rights and the Southern states were treated more harshly than before. The definitive goal of Reconstruction was to secure rights for Blacks and reunite the Union as effectively as possible, though there was disagreement as to how best this should be done.


Well, the many disputes over leadership of the republican liberal party was a main cause of the downfall of the reconstruction. For example, the Radical Republicans in Congress were not okay with curbing Johnson’s authority by overriding his vetoes, (they wanted to remove him altogether). Under the laws of the time, removing Johnson meant that Ben Wade, the president pro tempore of the Senate, would become president. This political battle between President Johnson and Congress over southern Reconstruction was the base of its later downfall. Western expansion, Indian wars, corruption at all levels of government, and the growth of industry all diverted attention from the civil rights and well-being of ex-slaves. These were also lead causes in the downfall of the Reconstruction set by Lincoln. With all of these imperfections in the way the Republicans ran the reconstruction, their influence diminished in the south and other interests occupied the attention of Northerners. And around 1817, Radical Republican regimes collapsed in all but two of the former Confederate states and the Democratic Party took over, despite the Republicans’ efforts. In all, there were many casualties leading to the downfall of the Reconstruction era ranging from unequipped leaders to rejection of the meaning of equal under the law.

Title: Reconstruction; Created by: John Lawrence; Published: 1867

Successful output during Reconstruction era

Within this Primary source, we can see the may attributes that came with the successful development of the reconstruction era. This image is basically a combination of religious and patriotic ideology showing the grand allegory of the reconciliation of North and South through the federal program of Reconstruction. Inside the image, a broad, flattened dome or canopy, encompasses a drawn map of the United States with a shallow drum showing the Senate, House of Representatives, Supreme Court, and cabinet. The two slender columns supporting the drum most likely represent the state governments, and the curved inner ones represent the people. On top the dome is an eagle with flag and shield. The structure is literally undergoing "reconstruction." The bases of the columns of the former Confederate states are being replaced with new ones. The old bases are called "Foundations of Slavery." The new ones represent Justice, Liberty, and Education. Under the watchful supervision of the military, civilians carry the new columns and put them into place. The scene is teeming with many other symbols and figures. The face- filled sky portrays the American statesmen, public figures, and other historical characters. Below, beneath the canopy, representatives of the North look as though hey are being reconciled with their Southern counterparts. And lastly, in a small cradle, two infants, (one black and one white), lie sleeping, sending off the message that "All men are born free and equal." With all of this into play, we cans see that the Reconstruction was a success. It restored the United States as a unified nation by 1877, and all of the former Confederate states had drafted new constitutions, acknowledged the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments, and pledged their loyalty to the U.S. government.

Failure of Reconstruction

Title: Leaders of the Democratic Party; Created by: Thomas Nast; Published: 1868

This primary source, created by Thomas Nast, depicts the four prominent figures in the Democratic party, three of them former Confederate officers and references to how they led to the negative effects and even downfall, of the Reconstruction era. Former New York governor and Democratic presidential nominee Horatio Seymour is portrayed as a rioter. Standing in a burning city, he waves his hat in the air while he steps on the back of a crawling figure, referencing to how the rioters turned their murderous wrath against the black community. When Seymour had opposed Lincoln's war policies, he was branded as instigator of the 1863 New York draft riots. The image next to Seymour's is of Nathan Bedford Forrest. Nathan Bedford Forrest, the founder of the Ku Klux Klan and infamous for his role in the massacre of surrendered Union troops at Fort Pillow, waves a flag labeled "No Quarter" and fires a pistol. Below this picture are extracts from the reports of the pillow massacre. In the next box, Confederate admiral Raphael Semmes is portrayed as a pirate, wielding a knife in one hand and a flaming torch in the other. Behind him flies a flag with a skull and crossbones and to the right cowers a family in fright. Last but not least, the Confederate cavalry officer Wade Hampton appears as a hangman in the bottom- right picture. He's holding his plumed hat at his side and is wearing a uniform embossed with a skull and crossbones and a belt inscribed "C.S.A" (Confederate States of America). In the distance three Yankee soldiers hang from a gallows. In all these portrayals of all four of these democratic figures, they all have a common trait of manipulation and misuse of power. They all act in harsh manners to the Blacks and cause conflicts with the political power. Other than the abuse of political power, there were many conflicts with the distribution and use of power. Before the Civil War ended, Northern politicians were busy making Reconstruction plans for the Confederate States and it was a difficult process for the United States for two reasons. Firstly, civil rights had to be secured for the emancipated slaves, against Southern protest; and secondly, the Union needed to be reunited as quickly , with little punishment to the Southern states. Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson, for example, made great strides to reunite the Union as quickly as possible, but sometimes overlooked Black civil rights in the process. For reassurance of these many casualties and confusions, congress referred back the amendments. The three amendments prohibited slavery, granted citizenship rights to all people born or naturalized in the U.S. regardless of race, and prohibited governments from infringing on voting rights based on race or past servitude. Despite the positive hoped outcomes from the utilization of these amendments, there were still many conflicts. Some of which were the rebound back to slavery as the enslaved blacks were freed. They were alarmed by Southern adoption of Black Codes that sought to maintain white supremacy. Recently freed blacks found the postwar South very similar to the prewar South.

Legacy of the era

The social and political atmosphere of the postwar South endured long into the 20th century. This was because Reconstruction changed the lives of southerners, especially those of the many slaves who first tasted freedom during this period. Southern society changed in order to adjust to emancipation, but former slaves were still relegated to inferior and submissive positions through economic, political, and social restrictions of their rights. Even today, there are racial decisions and disputes over political advantages one race has over the other and who is to be seen as "equal" under the law. There are also conflicts over leadership roles that still persist today. We still hold both republican and democratic practices. Bot of which have many people who have strongly apposing views on the other and their leaders. For instance, there has been new spottings of racial biased cults like the KKK being formed and adhered to modern society.



I have come to the conclusion that the Reconstruction did, in fact, have good ideals behind it, but it was not executed well and was ultimately a failure. Although the military conflict had ended, Reconstruction was ,in many ways, still a war. This important struggle was waged by radical northerners who wanted to punish the South and Southerners who desperately wanted to preserve their way of life.The many disputes over leadership of the republican liberal party was a main cause of the downfall of the reconstruction. Andrew Johnson, as Lincoln's successor, proposed a very lenient policy toward the South and pardoned most Southern whites, appointed provisional governors and outlined steps for the creation of new state governments, which conflicted with Johnson's feelings and focuses on how each state government could best decide how they wanted blacks to be treated. Many in the North were pretty mad that the South would be returning their former Confederate leaders to power.

The End :) plz grade nicely :')

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.