Civil War And Reconstruction: Failure Or Success

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The United State had to go through many wars to become the most powerful country in the world like nowadays. At that hard and long history, the Civil War and the Reconstruction were the names of those famous wars that not only every single person who is living in the U.S but also people all around the world have to know about it. That two wars could be seen literally as the background to create superb America as we see in the present.

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The Civil War started in 1861 and end in 1865. It basically the war between the Southern and Northern in the United State of America. In the middle of the nineteen century, the territory of America consists of 36 states, which dived into 2 distinct areas: The Northern developed the capitalist industry while the Southern developed the plantation economy (mostly cotton) based on the exploitation of slave labor (mostly black people). At the same time, The British Industrial Revolution spread throughout Europe and into North America. The first 13 colonies in the United States exchanged and trade a lot with Britain, and the industry also flourished in the 19th century. While the Southern economy was still highly dependent on slave labor. In the agricultural sector (mainly cotton), it is quite backward, rarely uses machinery and jut only uses black slave labor with very low labor costs. At that time 90% of blacks concentrated in the South. The North developed a massive industry, producing machines and equipment, so they definitely needed a consumer market. If it exported to other countries, of course, the North is forced to import the taxes, however, if the North sold in the South, of course, it will be much more beneficial. For the South to buy their products, what the Northern had to do was to abolish the slavery possession that had existed for more than 200 years. With cheap labor costs and no need to invest much, Southern slave owners did not want to give up, so the southern states wanted to separate from the United States and that lead to the Civil War. The South, with its weaker military potential, eventually surrendered, and the reconstruction of the United States shortly thereafter made the United States stronger.

On the other hand, the Reconstruction started just by the year that ends the Civil War in 1865 and it ended in 1877. While the North won in the Civil War, in the Second War (Reconstruction), the South won. The cheerful of the won in the North not happen in a long time since it brought to the end because of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln on April 14th,1865. Andrew Johnson was a vice president at the meantime, he becomes the 17th president of the United State after the president Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. He was the one that makes the wrong decision in American History since he chooses to stand for the side of white people at the Northern. According to some historians, until today, the United State still have to suffer and pay the penalty for Andrew Johnson’s decision.

On the other hand, the Northern parliamentary at that time decided to expand the civil rights for blacks, while also preventing the members of the Southern Confederacy from regaining power. They sent troops to the South to prevent whites who were opposed to the Union from registering or participating in elections. The deployment of the military was the primary means of establishing a new government in the southern states, as well as forcibly suppressing black and white voters against the Confederation. This enraged the whites of the South, leading to the birth of the Ku Klux Klan movement and many racist groups. Moreover, the dramatically growing of the white Southern people lead to the adoption of the Compulsive Acts of 1870 and 1871, which strictly punished those who are against the liberated black slaves of civil rights. Nevertheless, the efforts were not strong enough to eliminate the remnant of the Southern, the whites started their policy about racist-minded to those black people, threated to those Black people who were going to vote and they even tried to hold the positions of the state management. “The Jim Crow law” was ratified and really popular at that time in the southern states publicly affirmed racial discrimination in public schools, banning or restricting blacks to many public areas such as parks, stores, and coffee; denies the right of most blacks to vote by levying personal taxes.

Some historians criticize the Reconstruction after the end of the civil war as a failure of the United States, with political conflicts, corruption, and setbacks in protecting black people. The Reconstruction did not only achieve the lofty goals but also put America in danger of racial discrimination. Slaves had freedom but the North did not fully meet their economic needs. The Liberation Bureau of Slavery was incapable of providing economic and political opportunities to the freed slaves. The garrison does not even protect blacks from violence and threating. 

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