Reconstruction was the period after the American Civil war from 1865 to 1877, during which the inequality of slaves and problems arising from 11 states were discussed. The main aim of reconstruction was to reorganize the southern states after the civil war. Its origin can be traced back to 1863 when pres. Abraham Lincoln announced the first comprehensive program for reconstruction. To him, Lincoln, the reconstruction plan was to weaken the Confederacy. However, the reconstruction had several pros and cons.
Pros of Reconstruction
To many, this plan had several positive effects. Some of these pros of the Reconstruction plan include;
1. More opportunities for African Americans- One of the many pros of Reconstruction was the new rights and opportunities it gave to African Americans. African Americans were able to participate in the election and also hold offices, something that was not allowed before 1864. Also, they were allowed to work together with other Americans.
2. Voting Rights- African Americans were allowed to participate in the general election. In 1868, more than 700,000 African Americans were registered as voters, and more than 14 held political seats in America. After reconstruction, many African Americans were also allowed to participate in state legislatures. Therefore, the Reconstruction era laid a political ground for African Americans.
3. Development of churches- African Americans were allowed to form their schools.
The Reconstruction plan provided African Americans with the right to build and start institutions. About 300,000 African Americans were able to get access to education through the help of the freedmen. Through education also, African Americans were able to realize their rights and contributions to the government of America.
4. Abolition of slavery- African Americans were free from slavery.
Slavery was a thing before 1864, and Africans were able to enjoy their freedom after the Reconstruction. African Americans were able to travel and seek new employment opportunities, thus improving their livelihood.
5. Economic Growth of the South- All southern states had shown an improvement and rise after the Reconstruction Era. Before 1864, the southern states had never been a strong point for America. This is so because nothing good came from these states. However, after the Reconstruction Era, things changed drastically. Manufacturing had found its way in these states. This led to the rise of new industries and the creation of more job opportunities.
6. Restoration of the union- The Reconstruction plan helped
come up with new laws that recognized African Americans. These laws treated both African Americans and other Americans with the same weight. As a result of this, the union was restored.
7. End of civil wars- The Reconstruction plan is one of the factors that catalyzed the ending of the civil war in America. For the civil war to end completely, America needed a physical rebuilding and justice plan. The Reconstruction plan helped the nation to achieve its demands.
8. Introduction of work contracts- The Reconstruction plan led to the abolishment of slavery. Workers were required to sign a contract with their employees so as they could work. This provided a good working environment for workers.
9. Rise of African American organizations- African Americans were allowed to form their own political and trade organizations. Through these organizations, they were able to air out their grievances easily.
10. Facilitated movement around the nation- The plan played a vital role in ending the civil war experienced in the country. By doing so, people were able to travel seeking employments opportunities or looking for their loved ones.
Cons of Reconstruction
Here are some of the disadvantages of this plan;
1. Led to resentment- Even though the Reconstruction plan helped in promoting peace and ending the civil war, many people were resentful. They faced difficulty in reconstructing their homes and grieving their dead loved ones. This created tension and hatred in the nation.
2. Violence- The resentment among the people broke out in violence. Due to the rise in violence, many terrorist groups were started. For example, Ku Klux Klan (kkk) spread its reign of terror across the south.
3. Corrupt Economy- After the end of the civil war, there was a rise in corruption. After the war had ended, people had lost their belongings. To regain their economic superiority, they were forced to involve themselves in corrupt businesses.
4. Introduction of Black codes- During the Reconstruction Era, Black code laws were introduced. These laws were meant to limit African Americans from owning land.
5. Re-introduction of the slave trade- The abolishment of the slave trade did not last for long. After the death of pres. Lincoln, the slave trade regrew again. It led to more pain and suffering among African Americans.
6. Increased Black crimes- African Americans were granted equal rights as the other Americans. This led to an increase in African American-related crimes. Increased crimes destabilized the peace of the nation.
7. Altered the constitution- the reconstruction plan led to more than three different law bills. These laws were intended to destroy the African Americans, and at the same time meant to protect them. Therefore, the constitution undermined the right of the African Americans and the Southerners.
8. Undermined southern states- it was believed that the southern states were the major cause of the war, and therefore they were harshly punished. They were given the strict condition that they were required to fulfill if they wanted to be a nation again.
9. The assassination of President Lincoln- During the reconstruction Era, President Lincoln was assassinated. Andrew Johnson succeeded president Lincoln in 1865. He was not able to achieve and implement President Lincoln’s reconstruction plan.
10. Radical reconstruction- In 1866, northern voters were against Johnson’s policies in the congressional elections. This act divided the South into five districts.
11. Reconstruction plan downfell- it was an effective peace method as it later downfell. There was corruption all over and employees diverted all their attention from the Reconstruction plan.
Therefore, the above are some of the advantages and disadvantages that were associated with the reconstruction plan.