The Effectiveness of the Reconstruction Era and the Policies From the Civil War

The opinions that flew during the American Civil War were always greatly varying. There were opinions that involved burning the entire Southern Rebels region to the ground and the people along with it, and adversely different opinions on returning the south to its former glory, slaves, and plantations, ignoring the vast causes and casualties of the war. Though these opinions were greatly varied there was never an end to the unwavering loyalty to the north and the sense that despite several radical opinions, slavery was an indecent act, and needed immediate abolishment.

As for the employment of these freedmen, there was great dissension in the north as to who would get the jobs, the post-slaves, or the newly migrated immigrants. These many arguments were sorted through and discussed committing the Americas to a long reconstruction period or dash, depending on which timeline you use.

The war and reconstruction during the American Civil War brought about various stances that were sorted through and eventually followed as a country.

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The bases of these arguments were usually encircled by the discussion of the steps to take during reconstruction, as well as what to do with the numerous recently unemployed slaves. Despite Sherman’s best efforts to burn the South to the ground, many politicians found the solution to be a bit extreme and thus opted for a few more humane options. After the complete abolishment of slavery was pushed through congress, deemed the 13th amendment, in December 1864, there was an overwhelming desire to decide the future policies that the United States were going to follow once reunited.

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Thus began the debate between the Presidential or Congressional plans for Reconstruction of the United States after the fall of the Rebel South. The Presidential plan called for a civilized manner of returning the south its state freedoms, once its leaders and population declared their loyalty to the North.

This plan was adjusted several times during the course of Lincoln's presidency and after his assassination. And there were several citizens who demanded the cost of starting the Civil War be much more than a ten percent populace swearing an oath. The Wade Davis bill proposed that a large majority take the Ironclad Oath. Lincoln Refused. This infuriated the congressional members, who had recently taken an oath to ignore the presence of the Southern delegates. The Congressional approach to the Reconstruction made it clear that they would never see a war of that proportion again, and that the issue of slavery would never be brought up again. They would see to it that all Southern sympathizers would have their land stripped, their titles pulled, and their slaves freed, and that their say in congress no longer mattered.  The Moderate end of the spectrum would have liked to investigate the ability for the South to have representation and solve any political problems left, whereas the radicals would rather have a social revolution.

After the elections, there was a large public outcry for change. When the choice for reconstruction was made a decision whether to implant freedmen on the southern lands they have previously worked, ship them back to their homelands, or to let them fend for themselves in the new territories, the public and new immigrants had a voice. They called for the deportation of slaves so that their jobs in the Land of Opportunity wouldn't be stolen by the post-slaves. After the election, quite a few groups did slightly illegal things in order to implant their party members. The Mississippi Plan in 1875 led to Democratic parties rising up "protectors" which were glorified members of the Klu Klux Klan or White Shirts, and threatening hellfire upon Republicans who at that time were dominating the Mississippi’s political control. Mississippi being in rebellion was a small part of the large amount of controversies going on.

The Compromise of 1877 was known by the freedmen as the "Great Betrayal" because it had Northern troops to leave the South in order to gain the presidency lost. The Ratification of the 14‘” and 15‘h Reconstruction Amendments was a cease fire to the long-debated plans for Reconstruction in the South. The effectiveness of the Reconstruction plans is debatable, due to the immense amounts of racism left in the South and resentment that still lingers to this day. The Presidential mode of Reconstruction was the one selected for the South to follow, which meant after ten percent of their state's voting population declared an undying support for the United States; they were submitted back into Congress. The effectiveness of Reconstruction is still pondered on to this day, because the concentration of it wasn't focused on as much as it was for the Westward expansion. Also no clear policies were made by Congress or the President.

So despite the countless hours spent debating on the most effective plan for the reimplementation of the South and integration into politics, a formal stance was never taken and thus making the many policies pretty well pointless. Due to the large amount of focus put on Westward expansion of the United States after the American Civil War there was a lot that lay still in ruins after the destruction of the war. The South was a mess and needed to be brought up from the bottom, but the neglect for the once strongly demanded Reconstruction of the South made it nearly impossible for the immigrants and freedmen to function. They weren’t given land. or deported to Africa, or even set free in the west to try their luck there. They were instead left to fend for themselves, and ended up working on sublet farms making barely enough to feed their families.

The question as to whether or not the policies developed during the Civil War as well as the reconstruction era were effective depends solely on a which perspective that is to be taken. if one were to look at the treatment of the freedmen after the fall of the South, the plan ultimately failed. They didn't bring a newfound freedom to the people, but rather abandoned them to the sour Southerners to be dealt with in a manner close to what they had already dealt with. Then along came the Jim Crow laws, banning the citizens from being able to have a say in the doings of the country. These laws were in place until the mid-19605, almost a hundred years after the American Civil War had its surrender. Though the war was initially fought in the same of state's rights and the abolishment of slavery, and it was won by the pro- abolishment North, the freedmen were ignored, and treated almost as poorly as they had before the war.

Updated: Feb 19, 2023
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The Effectiveness of the Reconstruction Era and the Policies From the Civil War. (2023, Feb 19). Retrieved from

The Effectiveness of the Reconstruction Era and the Policies From the Civil War essay
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