Reconstruction Analysis Paper


The Reconstruction took place in the years after the Civil War. It lasted from 1865 to 1877 (Howard.edu 1). The Reconstruction can be characterized as a “turbulent era.” It can be characterized this way because Reconstruction was heavily disorganized and there was a great deal of conflict. Some of the conflicts include the disagreement between Radical Republicans and Democrats. Radical Republicans believed that African Americans should be able to exercise their rights. However, the Democrats disagreed, which caused conflicts that soon became violent. The Reconstruction in 1865 was a failure due to a great deal of major difficulties and disagreements. The Reconstruction was a failure due to the creation of the Ku Klux Klan, black codes, and conflicts between Radical Republicans and other groups.

The first reason why Reconstruction was a failure is because of the creation of the Ku Klux Klan. The Ku Klux Klan was created in Pulaski Tennessee on December 24th, 1866 (ushistory 1). The Ku Klux Klan led a campaign of intimidation and violence that was directed at both white and African American Republican leaders (History.com 2). Even though slavery was abolished, groups such as the Ku Klux Klan believed that whites were superior to African Americans. This term is now known as his shows that even though slavery was abolished during the Reconstruction, African Americans faced new difficulties. In a sense, African Americans were free but still treated as slaves. The Ku Klux Klan was against reconstruction due to the fact that they did not believe African Americans should have rights (Georgiaencyclopedia 1).

The second reason why Reconstruction was a failure is because of the creation of “black codes.” Black codes were enacted in 1865, in Mississippi and South Carolina. Black codes were laws that restricted the rights of African Americans (History.com 3). One Black code required African Americans to pay a “poll tax” before voting. This shows that African Americans were put at a severe disadvantage due to the fact that they were not making a great deal of money yet they still had to pay to vote. Black codes were used to restrict the rights of African Americans, and essentially kept them continuously “enslaved.”

The third reason for Reconstruction being a failure is because of the disagreements and conflicts that Radical Republicans had with other groups. The Radical Republicans believed that blacks were entitled to the same political rights and opportunities as whites. One of their goals was to ensure that the Confederate leaders should be punished for their roles in the Civil War. An example of some Confederate leaders is Robert E. Lee, and Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson (battlefeilds.org 1). Many Radical Republicans were hated because they believed that African Americans should be entitled to their rights. At this time, African Americans were looked down upon even though they were no longer enslaved. Radical Republicans were targeted by the Ku Klux Klan and many other groups that disagreed with their beliefs. This shows that those who believed that African Americans should be treated as freedmen were looked down upon, and faced violent attacks and intimidation. 

In summation, although slaves were given the right to vote, and freed from slavery, the Reconstruction cannot be characterized as a success. During the Reconstruction the Ku Klux Klan was created, black codes restricted the rights of African Americans, and Radical Republicans faced attacks by violent groups. The events of the Reconstruction have influenced racism throughout many generations. To this day, white-supremacy is seen throughout the country and has changed throughout many generations. Yet even though people know racism is wrong, it still can be seen throughout the United States. 

Works Cited:

“Confederate Leaders of the Civil War.” American Battlefield Trust, 16 Oct. 2018, www.battlefields.org/learn/videos/confederate-leaders-civil-war.

History.com Editors. “Reconstruction.” ​History.com​, A&E Television Networks, 29 Oct. 2009, ​www.history.com/topics/american-civil-war/reconstruction.

“Reconstruction.” Ushistory.org, Independence Hall Association, ​www.ushistory.org/us/35.asp.

Library System - Howard University,

www.howard.edu/library/reference/guides/reconstructionera/.

“U.S. History Primary Source Timeline; Classroom Materials at the Library of Congress; Library of Congress.” The Library of Congress, 

www.loc.gov/classroom-materials/united-states-history-primary-source-timeline/civil-war-and -reconstruction-1861-1877/.

“Ku Klux Klan in the Reconstruction Era.” New Georgia Encyclopedia, www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/history-archaeology/ku-klux-klan-reconstruction-era.

History.com Editors. “Ku Klux Klan.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 29 Oct. 2009, www.history.com/topics/reconstruction/ku-klux-klan. 

History.com Editors. “Black Codes.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 1 June 2010, www.history.com/topics/black-history/black-codes.

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