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Reconstruction

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Submitted By baseball1959
Words 932
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Reconstruction
Ramon Diaz
HIS/125
12/8/2013
Kristopher Daniels

1. Columbian historian Eric Foner (1983) quotes W. E. B. DuBois in calling Reconstruction a “splendid failure (p. 16).” After studying the events of the late 19th century, defend whether or not you agree with his position. What are the long-term implications?
After having an opportunity to research and study the facts of the events of the late 19th century, I definitely have to agree with W. E. B. DuBois quote, which calls Reconstruction a “splendid failure”.

When President Lincoln introduced the Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction in 1863, the three main goals were to restore the Union, transform southern society, and enact some type of progressive legislation protecting the rights of blacks. Soon after the Civil War ended the process of reconstruction began and some progress was made. A number of new liberal laws and amendments were enacted by Congress that protected the rights of all blacks under constitutional law. This laws and amendments included; the Thirteenth Amendment abolishing slavery, the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and the Fourteenth Amendment which granted blacks citizenship, the Fifteenth Amendment which gave black men the right to vote, and the Civil Rights Act of 1875 which banned racial discrimination in all public places. By the end of the 19th century, the Nation was reunited once again, and all the states in the south had abolished slavery in their own individual constitutions. However, after considering all the facts, there is no doubt that Reconstruction failed in other significant ways. First of all, after all federal troops were ordered to leave the South (in 1877), many Confederate officials and former slave owners, little by little returned to power. Before everyone knew it, all southern state legislatures have passed and had been enforcing some form of “black codes”. In addition, many of this states allowed sharecropping to evolve and become part of the fiber of the southern society, basically ensuring that the standard of living did not improve for blacks.
For me personally, the final prove that the reconstruction failed, was the decision made by the Supreme Court (aided mainly by southern Democrats) to repeal the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, as well as the Civil Rights Act of 1875. I think that eventually northerners got tired of the Reconstruction process, and the constant violations of blacks’ civil rights. It simply got to the point that these civil rights violations essentially became a way of life in the south. For over a century, Blacks have and continue to endure racial tension and discrimination as a result of the Reconstruction failure. The sad thing about it is that the rights that were promised to all blacks during the period of Reconstruction were not granted for almost another century.

4. Identify one significant leader in the Populist movement and give a brief synopsis of this person’s contributions, failures, and successes in bringing about the ideas of populism.

The Populist movement began (sometime in the early 1890’) as an uprising or revolt in the Southern and Midwestern states by a group of farmers, laborers, and activist. This action was a direct product of the constant ignoring of the needs, interests and issues of this group of people, by the Republican and Democratic parties.
For almost a decade, farmers and laborers endured and suffered crop failures, poor marketing and dropped in cotton prices. Not to mention, many farmers were in debt as a result of a number droughts in the 1880s, which affected the Midwestern states and parts of the south.
As a result of the constant struggles during this period, two organizations were created: the segregated National Farmers' Alliance and the Colored Farmers' Alliance. However, even though these alliances won a number of significant victories in the local level, they were not able to achieve much influence on a national level. Nevertheless, in the beginning of the 1890’s a new independent political party named the People's Party or Populist Party was founded. This party was created to address the negative changes in the national economy and American society that occurred after the Civil War. In 1892, the Populist Party and its candidate for President James B. Weaver, became the most successful third party candidate to ever win more than a million votes in a national election. As one of the founding fathers of the Populist movement and the Populist Party, Weaver was one the most important figure of the period.
James B. Weaver, was born in Dayton, Ohio, and after graduating from Law School and establishing himself as a successful lawyer, he decided to become involved in the anti-slavery movement. Weaver enlisted as a private in the Union Army (soon after the beginning of the Civil war), and by the end of the war he had reached the rank of brigadier general. After the war, Weaver became a district attorney, and before he knew it his career in politics and as a public civil servant really took off. His long career and distinguish services resume include; three-term member of Congress, two-time presidential candidate, and Iowa's most important Greenback and Populist politician. All this credential speaks for then selves, but more important they establish John B. Weaver as a leader.

References: * Schultz, K. M. (2012). HIST2, Volume 2 (2nd ed.). Boston, MA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning. * An Overview of Populism. (2010). Retrieved from http://dig.lib.niu.edu/gildedage/populism/popessay1.html * The Populist movement. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/wnet/jimcrow/stories_org_populist.html * James Baird Weaver. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAweaverJ.htm

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