DBQ Who Killed Reconstruction

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Madison Burns Thomas hr. 6 January 24, 2012 DBQ: Who is Responsible for the Failure of Reconstruction? Reconstruction is the period of time after the civil war. During this time both the North and the South are trying to find ways that, would allow the sides to reconnect in a civilized way. The North is responsible for reconstructions downfall and essentially killing the reconstruction period. This was through lack of control, deep corruption in government, and an in-difference for the South. The Northern states during this time after the war really wanted to South to reunite with the North and all become one nation again. This became clear that the South had a majorly different plan. The North was not able to control the Southern states. Whether it was Carpetbaggers, The KKK, or just normal people causing the problems, the Northern states were not able to keep everyone out of trouble or controlled. Yes, the South was resisting the Norths efforts, but it was the Norths job and responsibility to handle it with a firm hand. Northern troops were sent into the southern states to help. The Ku-Klux Klan or the KKK, was very active in the South. They had been known to kill black men, as a part of their white supremacy message. But they also killed white men that could possibly get in their way (Document A). Areas where the Northern troops were, the KKK activity did decrease, but it almost impossible for the soldiers to cover the whole vast area of the South effectively and efficiently. The Carpetbaggers were another group of people in the South that definitely had an effect. Carpetbaggers were Northern men that saw an opportunity, an opportunist, so to speak. Theycame to the South and took advantage of the situation, economically. They caused problems for the native Southerners by charging high prices- too high of a price for common goods and land. This is a part of the Norths failure to succeed because they were Northern people causing these problems. The North should have been able to set some rules or laws that would help protect the South from these so-called Carpetbaggers. It is something like this that would enrage the South even more- making the people in the South harder to keep track of and control in a civilized way. On top of the vast land that was in need of some control, there was major corruption in the government. Once General, now President, Ulysses S. Grants cabinet was full of corruption in almost every way possible. Harpers Weekly in the year 1876, published a very interesting political cartoon. The point trying to be made is that the government is just so corrupt, that the officials are just trying to cover it up. Everything shall be probed to the very bottom (Document C). Ulysses Grant was not necessarily corrupt as an individual, but things were definitely not easy for Grant during his presidency. The military is very different than politics. Grant was very used to the people doing what he says, when he says it, and exactly as instructed. This way of thinking didnt fly in District of Columbia. This is once again, another, way the North failed- they failed to choose and elect a political president, who understands the situation at hand. A military minded president, such as General Grant, would have had some nice benefits but not enough to even the disadvantages out. ` After so long after the Civil War, and it was still a time of reconstruction, the Northernpeople reached the point where they absolutely did not care about the South and its feelings anymore. Gerald Danzer of McDougal Littell wrote, In the 1870s, Northern voters grew indifferent to events in the South. The public opinion of the North began to turn against reconstruction and its policies (Document C). Their opinion did begin to alter. Heather CoxRichardson from Harvard University Press, spoke about how the pro-Grant and Freedmen Northerners argued how the blacks were unfit for politics and such (Document D). An argument like this would have been just another reason why the South was rebelling. The indifference and change of opinion involving the South would have definitely been a building block towards failure, caused by the North. The South did have a role in the reconstruction failure, but the credit should be given to the North for their mistakes and lack of interest. President Grant was a good man but a weak president and corruption and lack of motivation led to the failing of reconstruction in the United States in the years following the Civil War.

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