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Reconstruction is defined as the period following the Civil War.

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Introduction

Ramy Abdel-Nabi Reconstruction Essay Re-write Reconstruction is defined as the period following the Civil War in which the Republican-dominated Federal government sought to reunite the Union; the measure included drastically remodeling Southern society in order to secure equality and independence for blacks through granting them various freedoms. Many historians believe that in order to fully understand the modern United States, one must understand Reconstruction. Studying it, therefore, has been a top priority amongst historians. Over the years, three main schools of thought have developed concerning Reconstruction. The Dunning School viewed the Northern Republicans as tyrannical leaders who pushed aside the governments in the South set up by Johnson, and viewed the emancipated slaves as incompetent children incapable of handling their newly accumulated freedoms. The Revisionist School, which followed the Dunning School, argued that the Republicans were the liberating heroes, leaving the Southern white supremacists as the villains. The most recent of the three, the Post-Revisionist School, argued that the Radical Republicans were not all that radical. ...read more.

Middle

Burns argues, through evaluation of other regions where slaves were emancipated, that if land had been distributed, blacks would have been productive on it. Foner, on the other hand, argues that due to the National banking system, Blacks would have been unable to obtain a loan to purchase supplies for the redistributed land, leading to ultimate failure. Another goal on the path to complete black autonomy was black education. Organizations such as the Freedmen's Bureau established schools for blacks, but most of the major developments came from within the black community. Foner argues that the blacks made reasonable progress in education. They held classes in any suitable area, and communities even taxed themselves in order to pay the numerous costs. By 1870, blacks had expended $1 million in education. Burns argues, however, that these efforts were enough to educate only a fraction of Southern blacks. State government aid was needed to ensure the success of the black educational institution; unfortunately, this aid was not presented. ...read more.

Conclusion

Blacks worked on plantations to earn a living, and although they became dependent on their masters, they were able to save up and enter the free-market. Blacks also formed their own educational programs that, although weak, made relatively good progress. They exercised their right to vote when it was still possible, and Ministers, teachers and other black community leaders served as political leaders. This small but stable community created during Reconstruction would eventually build up to become the black community of today. In fact, much of the legal strategy of the Civil Rights Movement was based on Reconstruction laws and Amendments, proof of its lasting influence. Both Foner and Burns agreed that Reconstruction was, in general, a failure. Reconstruction was ultimately too weak; in order to fully succeed, it would have needed to revolutionize Southern society. Foner, however, argues that the black community built during Reconstruction helped build the modern black community. While land redistribution, black education and black suffrage failed and thus failed to help win black autonomy, the laws and Amendments of the Reconstruction helped blacks win their autonomy and, in turn, suffrage, education and economic stability, during the Civil Rights Movement. ...read more.

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