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Eric Foner A short history of reconstruction - Essay Example

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Besides, it is marked by the great loss, the assassination of the President Abraham Lincoln in 1865. It was Lincoln who signed Emancipation…
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Eric Foner A short history of reconstruction
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Eric Foner A short history of reconstruction

Download file to see previous pages... Presidential Reconstruction is a short period of presidency from 1863 to 1866 of both Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson. In an attempt to unify the nation, political activity of the presidents was strongly opposed by the Radical Republicans. Even though Johnson was in favor of anti-slavery politics, he vetoed the punitive legislation against southern planters. Officially he was against slavery and, at the same time, in reality was in favor of rich plantation owners of the South. And, already in 1866 the Radical Republicans gained power and begun Congressional Reconstruction. Having analyzed politics in Washington, D.C., it should be noted that emancipation proclamation as well as anti-slavery laws were not an easy decisions to take, because it was people’s wealth, country’s economy, political power and many others important issues which were put at stake.
Furthermore, emancipation did not go smoothly and painlessly. The rich plantation owners were neither ready, nor willing to let their free workforce go. And war, which began, was “the midwife of revolution” (Foner 2). As the author has noted, the proclamation was just official document in support of the revolutionary movement which had begun much earlier. Despite all the difficulties and controversies, slavery finally ended while Confederacy was defeated. The meaning of the word ‘freedom’ began to gain its new shade for Americans regaining its true position in society purified by Civil War events. Only by the end of 1870s the Reconstruction did provide freed slaves with some rights under the law which had been signed much earlier. Yet, the years of Reconstruction can be considered as a new starting point of new and right democracy, which has been destined to fight its way through until present days.
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