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Reconstruction and Postwar South

The Process of Reconstruction marks the period immediately after the American Civil War. This period lasted from 1865-1877 and it involved the process of integrating the confederate southern states into the Union with the aim of forming one nation, the United States of America. Therefore, with the end of the Civil War, moderate leaders such as President Lincoln and his vice president, Andrew Johnson led the Reconstruction process, which saw southern states forming governments and electing Congress representatives (Sammis, 1997). On the other hand, the process of Reconstruction marked the end of slavery in the southern states and the freed slaves could now afford an education and other civil liberties.

However, despite starting off slowly, the Reconstruction process had far-reaching implications, particularly with the rise of Radical Republicans who wanted to end slavery almost immediately. This implied that the freedmen could enjoy more civil rights through the passage of Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments by the Republicans (Sammis, 1997). Further, the south was placed under martial law, which sparked a lot of resistance from White southerners who fought to maintain the status quo by ratifying the “black codes” and other legislations that limited the rights of the freed slaves. Finally, the Compromise of 1877 ended the Reconstruction process at the expense of the freed slaves who continued to suffer at the hands of their white counterparts after the Northerners had given up on the whole process (Sammis, 1997). Considering the events that followed the Reconstruction process, a number of lessons can be drawn from the successes and failures of this period in the history of America. One of the major lessons, which also saw the end of Reconstruction with minimal successes, is that the whole process was poorly planned besides lacking an objective approach. Here, it is right to assume that the Union aimed at re-unifying America to form a nation in which all citizens enjoyed equal opportunity. Instead, the Union efforts were met with resentment and insurgency from the White southerners who wanted to maintain their dominance over the seemingly inferior blacks (Sammis, 1997). As a result, the whole process was bound to fail due to the conflicting interests from both sides. Therefore, by looking at these important lessons from the Reconstruction era, leaders can take note of the weaknesses and pitfalls in the way the process was managed. More specifically, the lessons learned from the Reconstruction process can go a long way in guiding contemporary US military actions in foreign countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan considering that the conditions involved are almost similar.



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