Saturday, September 5, 2009

Radical Reconstruction

The Radical Reconstruction was met by a lot of resistance. Many disagreed with the policy because it was more of a punishment to get back at the south, rather than mend the country. Many against the policy being pushed by the Radical Republicans argued against it. The purpose of this essay is to look at what the Radical Reconstruction was, who the Radical Republicans were, why people were opposed to them and their policy, and whether or not they were the reason for the failure of their policy.

"Radical Reconstruction, also known as Congressional Reconstruction, was the time when congressional Republicans, moderates and Radicals, controlled Reconstruction in the South."

The Radical Republicans were motivated by three main factors as to why they issued their reconstruction plan. For one they had revenge. They desperately wanted to get back at the South for causing the war. Two, they were concerned for the freedmen. Third,they were politically concerned. They wanted to make sure that their political party stayed in power in both the north and the south.

This is why so many disagreed with the Radical Reconstruction. The Radical Republicans were political terrors and would stop at nothing to get to what they wanted. They went over the presidents wishes and passed laws that they created. Yes the Radical Republicans had a good reason to fight, in my opinion, for black and white integration, but they went about it the entirely wrong way.

President Johnson was in complete disagreement with the Radical Republicans when it came to their Freedmen’s Bureau Bill. He vetoed it along with the Civil Rights Bill as well. This angered moderate Republicans and Radical Republicans as well. They together undid his veto of the two bills. This was the first time that this has ever occurred in history. The Republicans hoped that the Civil Rights Act would lead to a branch with right enforcing courts.

Amending the Constitution was the focus of Congress in Congress then focused on 1867. The Fourteenth Amendment was approved, which prohibited "states from abridging equality before the law." The second part of the Amendment basically gave the South a choice, they were either to accept black men and women as freed people or they would loose representation in congress.

The Radical Republicans faced so much opposition for a couple issues. For one, they stepped on many people’s toes and crossed too many lines to try to achieve their goals. The other reason that they were opposed was because this issue was rather controversial during this time, being that it was just after the war had ended. I think that the Radical Republicans were only part of the failure of this policy not sure if I think they were the whole reason for this failure but I think they were at least partially responsible because they were the ones who went way too far in pushing they’re beliefs.

American people creating a nation and a society. New York: Harper & Row, 1990. Print.