|PinkMonkey Study Guide - American History
6. 8 The Impact of Reconstruction
Reconstruction tried to achieve a certain degree
of racial equality of the blacks. Two important amendments to the
constitution: the 14th
amendments - laid the basis for government protection of the civil
and political rights of blacks in America. Though the 19th
and early 20th centuries
saw the misuse of these amendments by the supreme court to protect
business corporates from state regulation, those who framed these
amendments believed that they were providing a constitutional bulwark
for free blacks in the U.S.
Inspite of these noble intentions, after more than
a century, blacks are still second class citizens and are denied
basic rights. Why? There are several reasons given by historians.
One of the reasons is the governmentís leniency towards the southern
states which introduced black codes to suppress the Negroes. Secondly,
the new governments formed with the help of Black votes were extremely
corrupt. This gave enough excuse for the white southerners to denounce
them. Further the Republicans were not ready to totally break the
plantation system in the south under the guise of respecting the
right to property.
The Reconstruction achieved much despite its obvious
weaknesses. The schools that were built to provide education to
both blacks and the poor whites, the roads that were built and the
protection given to life and property were indeed major achievements
of the government.