Reconstruction: What Was It Designed to Do?
The reconstruction was the period between 1865 – 1877 when the US government attempted to rebuild the South, which had suffered devastating losses due to the civil war, and ensured that the former slave population gained equal rights with the white population. A major aim of the reconstruction efforts was to bring back the rebellious Southern States into the Union. The reconstruction was designed to bring about economic prosperity to the South. The Civil War had greatly devastated the Southern economy by crippling the plantations, which were the foundation of the Southern economy. The North hoped to use its relative wealth to promote economic recovery in the South. In addition to this, the reconstruction was designed to improve the economic and political status of the Black population in the country.
The status of the black population in the US had been changed from slaves to freed men following the Emancipation Proclamation. The government made laws that increased the rights of black Americans and enabled them to participate in the political discourse of the country for the first time. However, the reconstruction failed to achieve its core objectives. The Southern States resented having the North exert influence in their region. Some of the economic plans were therefore sabotaged due to this resentment. The reconstruction failed to provide the black population with the resources they would need to achieve equality with the rest of the population. The former slaves were not provided with any material support, and the economic situation of the free blacks remained just as dire as it had been during the slavery era. Deep racism developed with the South adopting segregation practices that were detrimental to the blacks and violence being meted out against the Blacks.