Failure of Reconstruction
Failure of Reconstruction Reconstruction is defined as a thing that has been rebuilt after being damaged or destroyed. Following the civil war the South was very much damaged both physically and emotionally. The radical republicans tried to reshape the south for their own benefit which was unsuccessful across the board for many reasons. Ultimately reconstruction failed to accomplish the goals of the free blacks and radical republicans because the radicals wanted a hard reconstruction of the south that was unrealistic because it neglected the life goals of the newly freed African Americans.
Once the thirteenth amendment ended slavery the newly freed blacks of the south had some important goals in mind. In the source “Jourdon Anderson, Letter To P. H. Anderson” Jourdon discusses his objectives as a free man which included the wages he earned working for his former master, education and protection of his children, and to be treated with respect ( Reading, 159). It was not just Jordon who wished these things; all of the newly freed blacks were seeking these goals and other goals as well.
Even though the radical republicans strongly opposed slavery, their goals during reconstruction did not exactly support the black’s goals. Radical republicans aimed for a hard reconstruction of the south that would erase the gross inequalities in wealth created by slavery. They believed the best way to accomplish this was by dividing up the land in the south. Taking the land away from the rebels and selling it to the freedmen. Radicals firmly believed the property of the rebels should pay for the national debt caused by the Civil War (Reading, 161). The southerners did not support this idea whatsoever.
They are extremely angry with Thaddeus Stevens for wanting to divide up their land, land that has been in their families for generations, and give that land to black people (Reading, 161). Southerners tried to recruit former slaves back to their farms in order to keep a small part of slavery existing (Reading, 159). Ultimately the white southerners wanted to establish white supremacy. They did so with violence, enlisting fear in the blacks and interracial couples by lynching (Reading, 169). Georges Clemencau was a French physician and journalist, covered Washington politics for a French newspaper.
In the source “U. S. Senate, Reports On ‘Outrages Committed By Disloyal Persons’” Clemencau talks about the double standard the U. S. government has for military and civil heads of the Confederate government. He talks about how the whites forcefully get what they want in any way they want weather it’s unconstitutional or not (Reading, 167). The goals of the radical republicans revolved around making the southerners pay for the war damages, giving blacks a chance to be free people, and eliminating the vas variations in wealth among the slave owners.
While these goals seam realistic, the extent in which the radical republicans wanted them done was not. As well as these goals could not be completed without support from others, and the white southerners did not support these goals. The free blacks reinforced these goals, but they were not at the top of their list of goals following the abolition of slavery. Thusly causing reconstruction to fail for lack of support and the vast amount of sacrifice they demanded from the southerners.