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In 1935, long after Reconstruction had ended, civil rights activist W. E. B. Du Bois asserted that the attempt to make black - Essay Example


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In 1935, long after Reconstruction had ended, civil rights activist W. E. B. Du Bois asserted that the attempt to make black

According to Mooney the famous reconstruction clause “forty acres and a mule” for the freed slaves was music to the ears and was propagated by the radical Republicans. In the end, the freed people’s hopes were ruined by the failed reconstruction. This paper will argue that the attempt to make black men American citizens during Reconstruction was a splendid failure as even though black suffrage was granted, no significant land redistribution was achieved. Without land, the Blacks felt worse of than they were under slavery. The North and the South also united at the expense of blacks leaving them without any protection and reversing all the gains made. Racial inequality continued until 1960s, 100 years after the end of slavery. The goal of Radical Reconstruction from onset was racial equality. The Radical Republicans believed that all races deserved to enjoy equal rights such as voting, enjoying public services and facilities, owning land, fair trial, and education among others (Danielle 1-5). The first reconstruction efforts were led by the sitting presidents. Abraham Lincoln was for moderate Reconstruction but the radicals wanted stringent measures like seizing plantations and giving them to former slaves. The task of redistributing confiscated land was given to freedmen bureaus. These bureaus also ensured African-American rights were not violated thus ensuring free labor, schools, giving aid to destitutes and settling disputes between races (Mooney 99). Therefore, when Andrew Johnson came

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to power in 1865 the Radical Republicans thought he would deliver hope for the black Americans. Johnson, though a former slave owner, hated wealthy South planters and blamed them for the secession thus deserving punishment (Mooney 98). However, Johnson viewed the African-Americans as landless and rightless laborers who had no role to play in the Reconstruction efforts. As a result, his Reconstruction efforts were aimed at uniting the North and the South and had little concern for freed people (Danielle 2). His approach entailed making it easy for the rebels to rejoin the Union and ignoring radical measures set by Radical Republicans. His support for black suffrage was very weak giving advantage to Southerners to deny the Blacks any rights. According to Mooney: “Johnson’s plan for Reconstruction or “restoration” as he called it… was greeted with relief by white Southerners” (Mooney 99). His Reconstruction terms were very simple and friendly to the rebel states contrary to what Radical Republicans had envisaged. First, he did not make it compulsory for the states to grant suffrage to African-Americans or to enact laws protecting the former slaves. As such, each state could enact its own laws to control voting rights. Johnson also made an amnesty proclamation thereby pardoning many confederate states. According to Mooney (99) he pardoned 100 confederates a day. These states could now have own constitutions and representation in the senate and House of Representatives. He also returned the confiscated land by the freedmen bureau to the owners in 1865. This left the Blacks worse off than they were before abolition of slavery as now they did not have land and could only work for the Southerners under wage labor contracts negotiated by the freedmen bureau. Moreover, Black Codes were passed which further limited the rights of African-Americans. These codes dictated hours of work and behavior required of the Blacks and vagrancy was


Chuan Liu Hist 100 18 October 2013 Introduction The American civil war was the most deadly in the American history. The war was fought by the North and the South from 1861 to 1865 as a result of the South seceding from the union. The South depended on cotton plantations thus wanted to maintain slavery at all cost…
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In 1935, long after Reconstruction had ended, civil rights activist W. E. B. Du Bois asserted that the attempt to make black
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