Thursday, September 1, 2022

Reconstruction: Success or Failure?

During the 1870s, more than a dozen African American men, many of whom had been born into slavery, were elected to the U.S. Congress. It was a triumph of our founding ideals of equality, justice, and the pursuit of happiness!

It was a period that ended all too quickly.

When neither candidate in the 1876 presidential election secured enough votes in the Electoral College to be declared winner, a deal was struck. Southern Democrats agreed to back Republican candidate Rutherford B. Hayes; in exchange, the federal troops who had protected black voters were withdrawn from the South. Just a few years later, the Supreme Court struck down the Civil Rights Bill of 1875. Black voting rights were gradually stripped away, and black representation in Congress faded.

Reconstruction was over, and the Jim Crow era of segregation began.

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