The Failure of Reconstruction Essay

This essay has a total of 966 words and 5 pages.

The Failure of Reconstruction

Reconstruction was a failure due to the opinion on race. Racism played a big part in the
1896 Plessey vs. Furguson case. Reconstruction began in 1865 and ended in 1877. Two goals
were to rebuild the south and to reform society.


Reconstruction should not be thought of as a bad idea. It was virtually impossible to just
change ways in the south with out using some kind of force. "Black codes" did nothing but
for the south but put them in further segregation. The black codes aloud a form of
disguised slavery. They gave blacks the right to own land, and go to court; they still
weren't aloud to serve on a jury or aloud to vote. In the long run, "black codes" just
made it easier for the people of the south to continue with their poor treatment towards
blacks.


A positive step did come for reconstruction in 1868. That was the 14th amendment, that
stated that "All persons born or naturalized in the United States and of the state that
they reside" (Thomas, 14) The amendment also declared that no state could make or enforce
any law that restrain the privileges of the citizens of the United States. This amendment
is clearly federal power over state power. This act was passed by congress to make sure
that constitutionality of the civil rights acts (that made African Americans full citizen
and guaranteed cirten right of citizenship, that completely went agents anything that had
to do with "black codes". With these new laws in place, Tourgee argued that the Louisiana
law "Separate but equal accommodations for the white and colored races on all passenger
trains within that state, took away Plessey 14th amendment rights. "The passage of the
1866 Civil Rights Acts and the fourteenth amendment marked the move toward racial
reconstruction, which was controversial." (Thomas, 7) Right after following this positive
step during reconstruction, came another racial act that prohibited the marriages between
whites and people of other races.


The compromise of 1877 put an end to reconstruction. Republican, Rutherford Hayes was
elected over Samuel Tiden, who was a democrat. The two parties made a dele with each
other. The deal that they agreed on was to get the federal troops out of the south. This
left nothing to enforce the 14th amendment. With the 14th amendment not being enforced, in
theory, the south could go back to treating slaves bad and continue slavery.


Racism was so bad in the south, and in some parts of the north, that blacks began to feel
like America was meant to be a white country. DeBois referred to this as a "double
consciousness" (Thomas, 141) Blacks we being thought of by whites as violent brutes.
Whites made fun of everything about them from their looks all the way down to their
personalities. White power groups like the KKK made it hard for black to "fit in" or go
about there daily lives, without being harassed. These are just some of the examples how
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