Causes Of The Reconstruction Act Of 1867’s Failure Essays Example
Prior the American Civil War of between 1861 and 1865, the government of the United States saw a secession of its southern states to form the Confederate States. Consequently, as the war commenced, the Union based its reasons for the battle on the secession and in turn, sought to reunite all of the states. However, by the end of the War, slavery emerged as a significant reason behind the Confederates and the Union’s decision to take up arms. Accordingly, the ideologies and goals of the Reconstruction Act of 1867 revolved around the causes of the Civil War. In other words, said Act sought to bring the southern states back to the Union and to ensure the integration of emancipated slaves to the white man’s society. Expectedly, the existing racial segregation and mistrust between the northern and southern states proved problematic to efforts for reconstruction and encouraged the Compromise of 1877.
Based on slavery, the abolitionist northerners differed from the pro-slavery southerners on the position and purpose of the black race within the white man’s society. Thus, owing to the victory of the northern states, the emancipation proclamation threatened white supremacy by the calls for equality among all people of all races. As a result, the ever pro-slavery southern states and even regions around its borders challenged attempts for the successful integration of blacks as proper citizens of the United States. In the south, the people implemented black codes that segregated African Americans from their society. The atmosphere for black people in the southern states only differed from that of Antebellum South because of the abolished slavery. Otherwise, whites still dominated the society and the segregation of blacks restricted the ex-slaves from enjoying the same services as the whites. For instance, trains and other modes of transportation allocated seats for whites and separate ones for the ex-slaves. In addition, a group of southern white men took up the act of scaring blacks through the Ku Klux Klan. While the group maintained they only scared African Americans by working on their imagination and superstitions, there are cases of blacks disappearing and others lynched by the Ku Klux Klan. As a result, one of the significant goals of the Reconstruction Act of 1867 failed.
As mentioned before, the formation of the Confederacy encouraged war between the divided states. Thus, after the northerners’ win, each side mistrusted the other, a fact that hindered proper governance by the government in all its territories. In a bid to prevent any chances of another betrayal, the government divided southern states into five districts, each with a government-appointed official. Additionally, the southern economy suffered tremendously after the loss of the once fruitful free labor availed by slaves. Because most of its people practiced farming, without proper and prompt laborers, the losses were inevitable. On that note, for fear of another act of rebellion, the poverty of the southerners was more than welcome. However, the result agitated the southerners’ leading to desperate acts to regain control of the government. Thus after many threats and intimidations, Democrats won the House of Representatives and consequently, power to reassert their ideologies in their areas of interest.
Finally, yet importantly, the unofficial Compromise of 1877 marked the end of Reconstruction and the last reason for the failure of the Reconstruction Act of 1867. Following disrupted elections in 1876, courtesy of the Democrats in the House of Representatives, the United States risked being without a president. As a result, the Republican presidential candidate Rutherford Hayes sought a compromise with the southerners in a bid to garner his certification from the lot. As part of the agreement, Rutherford Hayes granted Democrats the control of all southern states to avoid a disruption to the presidential elections. Expectedly, after Hayes’ win, southerners reasserted segregation by making the previously illegal black codes legal while dubbing them the “Jim Crow Laws”. As part of the deal, the government remained silent over the situation of the blacks. At the same time, the compromise allowed another division between the states returning the country to the years before the American Civil War. In other words, by allowing Democrats control over all southern states without the interference of the Union government, Hayes Ushered Americans to another period of disbandment and more bigotry.
Conclusively, by 1877, the failure of the Reconstruction Act of 1867 was undeniable. First, the southern states exercised free governance, a fact that contradicts the original goals set by Abraham Lincoln to bring all states under one rule. Secondly, the black population in southern states faced more bigotry under the law, making all forms of segregation legal. In fact, the laws prohibited interactions between the two races to the extent of making decrees forcing blacks into following the set rules. Finally, Rutherford Hayes’ actions gave power to the southerners and, as a result, encouraged their rebellious attitude that catalyzed the Civil War. As stated above, United Americans was the part of the reconstruction strategy, by giving southerners the right to rule themselves; Hayes’ presidential decrees were invalid. Without making sure there is equality among all races and unity for the people, the Reconstruction Act of 1867 failed.