Aveneu Park, Starling, Australia

After the death of Reconstruction, the North

After the civil war, the Federal government went to many lengths to try and help freedmen in former slave states. These actions were dubbed Reconstruction. During this time both the North and the South were trying to fix the damage done in the South and help African Americans become accepted into modern society. The goal was to reunite the North and South and find ways that would allow the sides to reconnect in a civilized way. Attempts at Reconstruction ended in 1877 to no major change as whites remained supreme in the governments and continued to hold the power. While both the North and South could be blamed for the death of Reconstruction, the North ultimately is responsible for its downfall and the killing of Reconstruction. This downfall of Reconstruction was because of the North’s lack of control, deep corruption, and an indifference for the South. For these reasons stated, the North killed Reconstruction. Firstly the North killed Reconstruction because the government was not able to control the Southern states. The US Congress removed the Confederate governments and put the South under the rule of the US Army putting themselves in charge of fixing the problems in the South. The North wanted to reunite with the South and while actions proved the South’s resistance, the North was the force behind Reconstruction and they could not control the South. The resistance in the South came from normal people, to previous slave owners, to racist whites and radical white supremacy groups like the KKK. Yet whoever was causing these problems in the South, the North should have controlled it. The North took on the job and responsibility to clean up the South but their efforts were not enough or not efficient as there wasn’t any change in the South when they left. Reconstruction could have ended differently if the North had been more firm as many members of Congress did “..not support, advocate, and urge immediate active and thorough measures..” (Doc A) of the opposing Southerners. The North had a duty to take over in the South and their lack of power in controlling the people show how they lacked in making change in the South. The lack of control exercised by the North in the South shows how the North killed Reconstruction and all the efforts to rebuild the South were lost due to the North’s lack of control. The North can also be held responsible for the ultimate death of Reconstruction because of the Northern corrupt government. The North’s goal after the civil war was reconstruction in the South but they were unable to put their full attention on the South as there were many high-level scandals for the president at the time, Ulysses S. Grant. During Reconstruction many Northerners grew “weary of the ‘Negro Question’ and ‘sick of carpet-bag’ government” (Doc C), meaning that Northerners were getting tired of trying to solve the race problems of the South and they were getting tired of the corrupt government in the South run by Northern carpetbaggers and freedmen. The North was preoccupied with their problems in the administration making them distracted from the problems in the South. In Doc C the image of Ulysses S. Grant at the bottom of the barrel searching for the frauds in the government and the issues of the South are left on the side show how the North was focused on the corrupted government rather than the pressing issues in the South. The North can be held accountable for the death of Reconstruction because of their lack of focus due to scandals in government such the “Whiskey Ring, Credit Mobilier Affair, and Belknap Affair” (Doc C).Reconstruction became a failure in the South because of the growing indifference of the South by the North. The North killed Reconstruction because they stopped caring and trying to fix the South. In the 1870s towards the end of Reconstruction was when “Northern voters grew indifferent to events in the South.” (Doc C). People in the North were tired of fighting Southerners and racist attitudes were adopted in the North as black participation in government spreaded. The North killed Reconstruction because they grew tolerant for the South’s behavior and stopped caring about the freedmen. In Doc D, the Northern artist’s portrayal of the South Carolina State Legislature during Reconstruction shows how the North felt about African Americans in power and the Southern government in general, the African Americans were drawn animal-like, fat, and corrupt. This image reflects the racist stereotype against black men that was kept up by Northerners. The North grew indifferent to the problems in the South as they started blaming freedmen for the problems in the South. As a result of the Northerns indifference, the plan of Reconstruction went downhill and ultimately lead to the neglect of the South and the death of Reconstruction. Reconstruction gave over four million slaves their freedom in the South, but the process of rebuilding the South socially, politically, and economically brought up a new set of challenges. The North took control in the beginning of Reconstruction but over time they lacked control over the South, became occupied with government scandals and corruption, and grew indifferent to the South’s ways. While there were many conflicts of Reconstruction in the South, at the end the failure of Reconstruction was because of the North. The North wasn’t effective in controlling the opposing Southerns, they turned a blind eye on parts of Reconstruction because of their own internal conflicts and the North stopped caring about the South’s need for change and stopped trying to rebuild the South. Reconstruction was a tricky process where there were many different ideas and perspectives around Reconstruction but while there were issues, the main causes of death and final straw leading to the end of Reconstruction goes to the North as they killed Reconstruction.


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