One historian has referred to Reconstruction as
“America’s Unfinished Revolution” since he thinks the U.S. is still dealing
with issues left over from that period. According to the Reconstruction’s
legacies, however, the Reconstruction seems to be successful but “Incomplete”.
One main goal of Reconstruction is to rejuvenate
the capitalism. Undoubtedly, there was a remarkable success in this aspect.
Alfred Chandler, the doyen of American business historians, and his followers
argued that the great story of this era was the establishment of giant
corporations, with their mastery of the logic of scale and scope, at the heart
of the American economy.1 Indeed, the economy gained enormous
development during the Reconstruction and the results are still benefiting
people nowadays. Also, unification of the nation was one goal reached then. The
government was trying to make the former opposite two side together and form
the whole nation. And this goal was achieved successfully as well.
However, another important theme of Reconstruction
is to spread the idea of Equal and raise the social status of African
Americans. During the Civil War, the North fought against the South in order to
free slaves and provided free lands and public education to them afterwards.
The reality, nevertheless, goes in a opposite direction: in 1870s, in which
racist whites seized power in parts of the South through violence and voter
suppression, effectively purring an end to Reconstruction.2 Columbia
University historian Eric Foner states in his urtext that the Reconstruction
story had been shaped by successive generations of historians who game Southern
propaganda a gloss of historical authority. Their scribes villainized the black
politicians and the “Radical Republican” lawmakers became known as corrupt
bandits rather than as the dedicated idealists that many of them were. One
thing in particular sums up the occasion during that period. In 1873, after
Democrats lost the Louisiana governor’s race, a group of white paramilitaries
that would later know as the While League set out to seize local offices by
force. They killed about 150 black citizens during the rampage. In 1950 the
state placed a plaque at the site in 1950: “Colfax Riot,” it explains, “marked
the end of carpet bad misrule in the South.”3 Unquestionable the
social status of African American then even nowadays is still a well concerned
problem which is not fixed by the Reconstruction.