The Goals Of Douglass And Lincoln


America’s reconstruction period was a time of unification, progression, and new industry. It was an exciting time for the nation, and brought many great new ideas and ways of thinking. Unfortunately everything was not as great as it seemed.  While America did make big leaps in the right direction, not all of the goals set by Dougluas and Linclon were achieved. Until the end of the Civil War, slavary was a large and very unsettling part of America's history and culture. Rich plantation owners had been exploiting slaves for their labor for generations upon generations, and they saw the end of slavery as a threat to their livelyhood. These ignorant and selfish people are the reason for Douglas and Lincoln to not completely fulfill all of their hope and dreams for the future of america.  

One of Douglas’ goals that was not achieved in America's reconstruction period was the opportunity for all races to have equal rights in our nation. Sadly after the civil war life for the newly freed african american community was anything but considered equal to the everyday white man, but it was not always that way. “After the Civil War, with the protection of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution and the Civil Rights Act of 1866, African Americans enjoyed a period when they were allowed to vote, actively participate in the political process, acquire the land of former owners, seek their own employment, and use public accommodations,” say the writer of The African American Odyssey. There was a drastic improvement in the african american communities rights after the civil war. Unfortunately with that came a lot of backlash. “Opponents of this progress, however, soon rallied against the former slaves' freedom and began to find means for eroding the gains for which many had shed their blood”(The African American Odyssey writer). The same source elaborated that many people did not believe that the african american community deserved any rights at all, this is our country's sad but very true history. Before the war slave owners saw their slaves as property, not as a human life. These people were stuck in their old ways of thinking and did not believe they former slaves should be granted the same rights, because of this racism and bigotry was still woven throughout the country. Segregation started to have large scale effects on american society. It became very difficult for people of the african american community to get the same opportunities as white people. 

One of Lincoln's goals that was not achieved in America's  reconstruction period was to end the war with "malice toward none" and "charity for all." Even after the war was fought, tensions between the north and south ran extremely high. Many people in the south did not respect Lincoln or the laws he was enforcing. Ending the war did not automatically change the way many southern citizens felt about slavery. Many people believed slavery to be a crutial part of the south, and southern tradition. This way of thinking caused a lot of hatred and spite in our country. Many violent extremist organizations such as the Klu Klux Klan rose from the ashes of the civil war, these groups preyed on the large population of newly freed african american citizens. “Founded in 1865, the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) extended into almost every southern state by 1870 and became a vehicle for white southern resistance to the Republican Party’s Reconstruction-era policies aimed at establishing political and economic equality for Black Americans.”( History.com editors) This group was a direct result of the civil war’s outcome. Abraham Linclon wanted to unite the nation after the civil war but unfortunately his goal was never achieved in his life, or for many years to follow. While he saved the country from physically splitting he could not prevent the unspoken divide that people still feel the effects of to this day.      

Many Americans would argue that Lincoln and Douglas did in fact achieve their goals because slavary was abolished in 1865. While that was one of their collective goals, slavary was still sadly at large even after it was outlawed, It just went by a different name.Neo slavery became the new norm in the south after the emancipation proclamation was formed.“Slavery never ended and that's the point, it never ended. It just disguised itself in other forms,” says Dr. Antoinette Harrell, renowned genealogist and local historian.  Life for newly freed slaves was extremely hard, since they really had no prior access to education or the outside world. Sadly many former slaves became poor and basically unemployable in the extremely racist south. Plantation owners found a loophole for free work, they would provide extremely poor living conditions for former slaves, in exchange for money. Since most newly freed slaves had no money they had the option to try and pay off their debts by working on the land. This trapped them in mountains of unpayable debt unfortunately forcing them to to stay and work for the rest of  their lives. 

While Many of their goals were not achieved in America's reconstruction period, we have come a long way from then. Just in the last one hundred years society has changed for the better. Fredrik Douglas’s goal has been achieved, and now all american citizens have equal rights. Hatred is being exposed and awareness is being spread. This year especially has opened many american’s eyes to the devastating, and unfair treatment that the african american community still unfortunately faces in this country. Social media continues to shed light on topics that some have the privilege to not know about. While America did make big leaps in the right direction, not all of the goals set by Dougluas and Linclon were achieved. The difference between the reconstruction era and today is that now people have a platform to expose the wrongs in our society and educate others. Change is happening, and it is for the better.

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