Essay on The Legacy of Reconstruction

Submitted By derektumblin
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Derek Tumblin
U.S. History II
The Legacy of Reconstruction Throughout the end of the nineteenth century and continuing through the twentieth century, African­Americans were separate but not equal and not quite free.
Although slavery was abolished, former slaves relied upon the actions of others and could not maintain their liberty by him or herself. Furthermore, the government did no favors for the recently freed slaves.“He was free from the individual master, but the slave of society. He had neither money, property, nor friends. He was free from the old plantation, but he had nothing but the dusty road under his feet. He was free from the old quarter that once gave him shelter, but a slave to the rains of summer and the frosts of winter.” (pg.35) Former slave owners resented the emancipation of the slaves because they felt they had been robbed of their labor in which they paid for. Frederick Douglas was a very influential man in the reconstruction era. One of his biggest regrets was that the government failed to provide land for the freed slaves. I believe the government should have provided property to the freedmen to help make amends for their previous living conditions as well as a startup because they had few possessions to start with. The freedman also felt bitterness towards the government, for many African­ Americans fought for the North during the Civil War. Former slaves had

no chance against the wealthy, aristocratic, landowning white male. Frederick Douglas died in 1895. Booker T. Washington was the acknowledged leader upon the passing of
Frederick Douglass. He believed in gradualism, which means achieving equality with the whites. This is still an issue, though not near as extreme or obvious, today. The conservatives believed in
Uncle Tomism, which condemned the African­American race to be inferior to the caucasians. Washington did not want African­Americans to become too powerful, too quick for the Reconstruction period will repeat itself. He, like Douglas, believed property should have been provided, but also believed education should have been provided to in order to be better prepared for the duties of citizenship. Not all white citizens felt they should be superior to black citizens. E.L. Godkin
Grieves was one of those men. He was a strong liberal who was not afraid to speak his mind. He writes that the Reconstruction…