Reconstructiontook place after the Civil war during the years 1865-1877. This era was full ofmany questions without clear answers, and therefore I do not believe it was aradical break from the past. This era was exceptionally revolutionary, but nota break from past occurrences or thoughts. Using what we knew as a country tounderstand where we were at that point in time, there was little understandingof what to do next. Would the confederacy be allowed back into the Unionwithout any consequences? Would black men and women be of the same socialstatus as white men and women? Would racism and violence be put to rest? Therewas a break in the initial violence, but now there is a form of politicalviolence to be had when answering these harder questions.
I do not think thatthe Reconstruction was a radical break from the past.Firstly,we can see that the country was in shambles right after the Civil war. Therewere four years of war that impacted the country’s resources as well as theirpeople.
Thousands upon thousands died during this war on the home-front for theabolition of slavery. But after the fighting had ceased and the Union hadofficially won, there were multiple other issues that needed to be resolved. The administration of Andrew Johnson, afterLincoln’s assassination, worked to ensure the rights of slaves, while alsoallowing them to work. Under Johnson, aseries of “black codes” here released to better detail black people’s activity.These codes are defining freedom that very much resembled slavery. According toan article titled “Mississippi Black Code, November 1865″ from our textbook,”every civil officer shall, and every person many arrest and carry back to hisor her legal employer any freedman, free negro or mulatto.” This definitely hashints of slave-management tones, although they added the word “free.” This wasin no way a break from the past.
If anything, it was moving towards thelimitation of black people once again. To be considered a “radical break fromthe past” I believe there had to have been some forward momentum off the bat.This era seemed to begin with many struggles and doubt.Slaveryis the big question posed here after the war.
Those who had fought for theabolition of slavery were outraged to see political figures move towards alimited form of treatment when it came to black people. Republicans in congressbegan to take control of the Reconstruction that was going on in the South. TheReconstruction act was passed in 1867, which organized suffrage and split thesouth into military districts. This poses a big question for me, are thesestates ready to be committed to the Union now? Considering they were the enemyfor four years, why would they feel the need to organize the south in such away now? According to an article titled “Reconstruction” written for theHistory Channel, “By 1870, all of the former Confederate states had beenadmitted to the Union, and the state constitutions during the years of RadicalReconstruction were the most progressive in the region’s history.” Whether theyfelt as though the South was perfectly acceptable in the Union or not, theyadmitted them to attempt to move forward after the war. It wasn’t until 1877that all of the northern troops were removed from the south, the end ofreconstruction. I do not think that this era was a radical break whatsoever.The changes that took place had to have been changed a few times before theywere actually what the white abolitionists wanted as well as free black formerslaves.
Secondly,”African-American participation in southern public life after 1867 would be byfar the most radical development of Reconstruction” states the History Channel.The rights of those who had earned freedom were slim towards the beginning, buteventually moved towards a greater equality as time wore on alongside new laws.The three most important laws during reconstruction were the three amendmentsthat were passed dealing with slavery as a thing of the past.
The 13thamendment, which abolished slavery, came first. Second was the 14thamendment, giving black people birthright citizenship in the United States, andthird was the 15th amendment, giving black men the right to vote.This part of the reconstruction was definitely the most influential and longlasting, but it seemed to definitely take some arguing and some protesting toget to this point. There were also those who opposed black integrationaltogether, such as the Klu Klux Klan (KKK) who organized themselves in 1866.
Manyaccounts of violence and discrimination after the initial emancipation has beenrecorded. According to another article from the textbook titled “Klan ViolenceAgainst Blacks,” we can see a large amount of reported violence and racialdiscrimination towards people who made themselves known to the KKK community. “Atlast they came up to my brother’s door, which is in the same yard, and brokeopen the door and attacked his wife, I heard her screaming and mourning” (EliasHill).Whenasking the big questions during this time period, we can see that there was noimmediate action towards helping black people become 100% independent after thewar.
They were free, slavery had been abolished. But those like Johnson whoattempted to still limit their rights were still there. There is a reason thatgiving the right for black men to vote wasn’t one of the earliest amendments.There will still be segregation or decades afterwards as well as racism anddiscrimination. Therefore, I believe that this era was not a point of radicalbreakthroughs, it was a buildup of hundreds of years that had finally succumbto the weight of its problems. I believe that there was no ultimate tippingpoint after the Civil war. I do not think that the Reconstruction was a radicalbreak from the past. (988) Essay2 (option 1)Manifestdestiny rooted itself in thousands of people who lived on the east coast andwho dreamed of a new life.
Westward expansion began to finally become atangible thing. Jobs were offered, land bought and sold, and expansion wasofficially beneficial in more ways than one. Railroads were important, thediscovery of gold as well.
But there were also issues. When the Louisianapurchase was bought in 1803, slavery was still in place. The Mexican war tookplace in 1837, and issues were still to be resolved.
Thanks to the Louisianaand Gadsden purchases, we acquired thousands of square miles of land to expandupon. I believe that the role of western expansion was to create a powerfulcountry and to promote national growth in the years 1840-Thetranscontinental Railroad was the backbone of America. The first officialrailroad was built in 1859 and inspired economic and population growth in theMidwest.
This step towards inhabiting the Westward portion of the countrybrought a substantial component towards full expansion. Moving around Americawas hard, most used covered wagons for most of their transportation during the”Oregon trail” period. Once transportation became easier and more available,those who had wanted to move westward could do so much easier.
This inspiredpopulation growth in westward areas and the introduction of larger cities andtowns in these areas. According to an article written for The History Channel,titled “Westward Expansion,” “By 1840, nearly 7 million Americans–40 percent ofthe nation’s population–lived in the trans-Appalachian West.” Not only did therailroad inspire population growth, it also assisted with job opportunities.
There was land to be had in the north west, and jobs building the railroad gotthose who desired them closer to obtaining them. The railroad also allowed foran economical expansion of the United States, allowing farmers or merchants tosell goods that would be able to make it across the country via train. Thisplayed a large role in westward expansion, inspiring national growtheconomically and population wise. The transcontinental railroad united America,making it a possibility for success in their unexplored territory.
Thisinfluence on westward expansion brought America one step closer to being a well-roundedcountry. This powerful step made America more accessible and more usable. Whentying that into the role of westward expansion being to create a more powerfulcountry, I think that the railroad helped exceptionally with this milestone. Whenit comes to struggles faced during this era, we could stand to name a few.Slavery was still in place until 1865 until after the Civil war.
That means thepurchase was there for about 62 years before the abolishment of slavery, andtherefore it was an issue when expansion came into play. At this point in time,designated states were either free or slave states. The question in play waswhat would these new states or territories be? Would they be free or slavestates? According to the article titled “Westward Expansion,” the Missouricompromise attempted to solve this question. Missouri became a slave stateunder this compromise and Maine became free.
This resolved it for a littlewhile, until the Mexican war began in 1837. “Polk declared war against Mexico,claiming (falsely) that the Mexican army had ‘invaded our territory and shedAmerican blood on American soil'” (History). Through these struggles, Americagained Texas as a slave state and Oregon as a free state. Eventually, becauseof these struggles, they would own the entirety of the land from coast tocoast. This helped to grow our country, maintain peace with neighbors after thetreaty of Guadelupe Hidalgo that put an end to the Mexican war and added the 1million square miles to the United States.
TheGold Rush is the most intriguing instance in American History, I personallythink. The idea that thousands of people would move westward to simply attemptto find gold and start a better life was such a driving factor it’s impressive.There are accounts of those who observed the initial start of the gold rush,which began in 1840’s. According to an article in our textbook “Reading theAmerican Past” titled “California Gold Rush Diary, 1849-1850, we can see manyinstances in which people decided that the risk was worth it and moved. “Beingtroubled with the golden dream…” states Walter Colten, the author of this diaryentry, “I determined to put an end to the suspense, and dispatched a messengerthis morning to the American Fork.” The desire to move westward can beinfluenced by many things, a job, a promise of land, and in this case gold. Therole of western expansion was to create a powerful country, getting wealthyitems and resources into circulation among American people meant income for theeconomy.
This was a major driving factor towards expansion. Ibelieve that the role of western expansion was to create a powerful country andto promote national growth. Through the transcontinental Railroad building wesaw economic growth and support as well as the ease of transportation becomingmore and more available. With the issues we faced including slavery in thenewer states, we found ourselves at war with Mexico and obtained 1 millionsquare miles of more land to add to our growing country. The Gold rush provedto be helpful by stimulating more movement and economy, promoting theexcavation and settlement of land where gold may or may not be.
Throughoutwestward expansion, we see growth and wealth being acquired by the UnitedStates, that was the main role of westward expansion. (932)