While Reconstruction did make significant achievements for black rights, it was ultimately a failure due to racism in general. While abolitionists and pro-freedmen did support the freedom and well being of blacks, almost everyone was not too keen on accepting blacks into politics and daily life. Many still believed blacks to be inferior to whites, and thus a level of segregation was implemented since the freedom of slaves.
Reconstruction was a success in that blacks were freed from the shackles of slavery and were able to live as Americans. Many blacks proved themselves in the workforce as a “Working Class of People” and carved a place for themselves in society. They began the process of melding into a society which had almost never seen them before and paved the way for civil rights and equality (Foner, Chapter 2).
While many Northerners supported the end of slavery and were pro-freedmen, there was still an overall prejudice based on race. Few were ready to accept blacks into politics or the finer points of society and daily life. Black Codes essentially allowed lawmakers to restrict the rights of blacks by treating their rights as an extension of those granted to whites, except as revocable privileges. This allowed regions to make unreasonable laws restricting blacks from otherwise universal rights such as voting. Black Codes eventually were replaced by Jim Crow Laws, which were just as restrictive, if not more so. With such restrictions in place, it is hardly appropriate to call Reconstruction a true success, as it did not assimilate blacks into society, instead segregating them. Especially since these black codes were based on regional laws, it aggravated sectional tensions between the North and South (Black Codes, 1866).
Reconstruction, an attempt to unify the nation again and assimilate newly freed slaves into society, was largely a failure due to racism. While it did establish important fundamental rights for blacks and establish a place for them in society, they were not assimilated and instead segregated due to overall prejudices and the establishment of black codes. Black Codes and other establishments restricted the rights of blacks and helped create more sectional tensions due to the regional use of these codes. These sectional tensions also manifested themselves in the struggle between political parties, the Republicans representing blacks and more Northern views, as opposed to the more traditional and racist Democrats representing the South (MTSU Teaching, Page 1).
In conclusion, Reconstruction did little of what it was intended to do, and is more of a failure than a success due to racist beliefs and prejudices against blacks and differences in the level or prejudice. Such sectional tensions and corruption are only rivaled by the Jackson presidency and the split of the Democratic-Republican party during the election of Jackson. Similar prejudices and contrasting opinions were evident, and the social order of many was called into question during that time and Reconstruction.