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The weaknesses of the American Constitution led to the rise of the Civil War. For example, the constitution failed to define the powers and obligations of the states. Therefore, Reconstruction refers to the measures that were adopted to solve social, economic and political challenges that led to the outbreak of the Civil War. This essay discusses the American Reconstruction.
Legislations that were passed during the Reconstruction
Presidential Reconstruction began in 1865 after the death of Lincoln. The following legislations were passed during the Presidential Reconstruction. President Johnson outlined the procedures for the formation of new states. The new states were required to eradicate slavery, renounce secession and cancel the Confederate debt.
However, the new states passed Slave Codes, which curtailed the freedom of blacks. In 1865, Radical Republicans encouraged the formation of more states in the South. The Civil Rights Bill was one of the major legislations that were approved by Congress in 1866. In addition, the Congress endorsed the Fourteenth Amendment, which introduced the system of birthright citizenship. The Fourteenth Amendment emphasized the principle of equality before the law.
The radical phase of the American Reconstruction started in 1866 during the Congress elections. In 1867, the Congress approved the Reconstruction Acts, which led to the creation of five states in the South. The Congress passed the Fifteenth Amendment during the Radical Reconstruction. This amendment forbade racial discrimination in politics. In addition, the Congress passed several legislations to curb political violence. Radical Reconstruction ended in 1877.
Achievements of the Reconstruction
The following achievements were made during the Reconstruction. First, the Reconstruction was successful in reuniting the Americans after the Civil War. For instance, by 1877, most of the former Confederate states had endorsed the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth clauses in the American Constitution. Therefore, the gaps in the American Constitution were bridged during the Reconstruction. For instance, the rights and obligations of the states were included in the American Constitution.
There was a significant improvement in the economy of America during the Reconstruction because racial discrimination was abolished in economic activities. For instance, blacks were allowed to carry out economic activities and slavery was abolished. Moreover, the education sector was transformed significantly. For example, the government funded public schools.
Failures of the Reconstruction
The Reconstruction failed to improve industrialization in the South. Moreover, poverty remained widespread in some states because of high taxation and mismanagement of public funds. Some whites detested laws that emancipated blacks from slavery. Consequently, they formed radical groups that terrorized blacks. For example, Ku Klux Klan killed many blacks and destroyed their properties. Therefore, racial discrimination was not properly solved during the Reconstruction.
Historical Significance of the Reconstruction
The Reconstruction transformed the American society because it solved constitutional, social, political and economic challenges. For instance, the Congress abolished discriminatory laws. The Birth of a Nation exemplifies the success and failure of the Reconstruction. For example, the film demonstrates that whites and blacks did not have a good relationship during the Civil War. This film has been criticized for depicting African Americans as stupid and sexually belligerent towards white women.
This essay has revealed that the Reconstruction led to social, economic and political reforms in America. Moreover, it managed to reunite the Americans after the Civil War. Nonetheless, the Reconstruction did not achieve some of its goals. Consequently, some individuals call it the “unfinished revolution”.