What Were Some Of The Major Achievements And Disappointments Of Radical Reconstruction – Essay Example
What were some of the major achievements and disappointments of Radical Reconstruction? Radical Reconstruction or Reconstruction Era was an important period in the history of United States of America. But Radical Reconstruction cannot be termed as an ultimate achievement because it has its own disappointments/drawbacks which deeply influenced the society. The major achievements include Reconstruction policies/ Amendments, construction of public schools and land access for former slaves. The major disappointments/drawbacks include lack of economic freedom, unfulfilled plans formulated by Abraham Lincoln, division in the society, and emergence of racialism and racial supremacy.
The Reconstruction policies/ Amendments can be pointed out as an important achievement of Radical Reconstruction. For instance, Civil Rights bill of 1866 aimed to prevent racial discrimination, the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution aimed to grant the right of citizenship for slaves and the 15 Amendment aimed to grant the right to vote for all citizens. Construction of public schools at the time of Radical Reconstruction is another achievement. In 1870’s, a number of public schools aiming to educate both black and white students were opened. Besides, teaching staff included both black and white teachers. This was helpful to provide value added education to all, without considering color, creed or race. Earlier, the slaves who worked under their masters did not possess any special right over land. At the time of Reconstruction, Abraham Lincoln awarded limited access to slaves over land. For instance, in South Carolina, slaves were allowed to own land without further restriction. These are some of the major achievements Radical Reconstruction.
There were major disappointments/ drawbacks for Radical Reconstruction. For example, Radical Reconstruction aimed to establish civil and political rights of the slaves. The economic rights of the slaves were totally neglected. Besides, the plans formulated by Abraham Lincoln to develop black minorities were not properly implemented by his followers. At the same time, the Civil War and following Radical Reconstruction divided the society into two watertight compartments. One side was in favor of emancipation of slavery and granting civil and political rights to the blacks, and the other side opposed the same. Besides, this deepened the division between white majority and black minority in American society. Curt Lader makes clear that the Amnesty Act passed by American Congress helped the confederate officials to regain their political rights in reconstruction era (Lader 137). One can see that technical ending of Reconstruction limited the scope of further improvement. For instance, the Amnesty Act was helpful for the confederate officials to regain their political rights lost at the time of reconstruction. On the other side, it paved the way for certain groups like Ku Klux Klan, based on racial supremacy. These are some of the major disappointments/ drawbacks of Radical Reconstruction.
Summing, the main achievements of Radical Reconstruction helped the black minorities in the US to gain certain civil and political rights. On the other side, it did not contribute much to the economic development of minorities. Generally saying, Radical Reconstruction was an important milestone for the development of African American community in the US.
Lader, Curt. Painless American History. USA: Barrons Educational Series, 1999.