Reconstruction was a failure due to the opinion on race. Racism played a big part in the 1896 Plessey vs. Furguson case. Reconstruction began in 1865 and ended in 1877. Two goals were to rebuild the south and to reform society. Reconstruction should not be thought of as a bad idea. It was virtually impossible to just change ways in the south with out using some kind of force.
"Black codes" did nothing but for the south but put them in further segregation. The black codes aloud a form of disguised slavery. They gave blacks the right to own land, and go to court; they still weren't aloud to serve on a jury or aloud to vote. In the long run, "black codes" just made it easier for the people of the south to continue with their poor treatment towards blacks. A positive step did come for reconstruction in 1868. That was the 14th amendment, that stated that "All persons born or naturalized in the United States and of the state that they reside" (Thomas, 14) The amendment also declared that no state could make or enforce any law that restrain the privileges of the citizens of the United States.
This amendment is clearly federal power over state power. This act was passed by congress to make sure that constitutionality of the civil rights acts (that made African Americans full citizen and guaranteed cir ten right of citizenship, that completely went agents anything that had to do with "black codes". With these new laws in place, Tour gee argued that the Louisiana law "Separate but equal accommodations for the white and colored races on all passenger trains within that state, took away Plessey 14th amendment rights. "The passage of the 1866 Civil Rights Acts and the fourteenth amendment marked the move toward racial reconstruction, which was controversial". (Thomas, 7) Right after following this positive step during reconstruction, came another racial act that prohibited the marriages between whites and people of other races. The compromise of 1877 put an end to reconstruction.
Republican, Rutherford Hayes was elected over Samuel Tide, who was a democrat. The two parties made a dele with each other. The deal that they agreed on was to get the federal troops out of the south. This left nothing to enforce the 14th amendment. With the 14th amendment not being enforced, in theory, the south could go back to treating slaves bad and continue slavery. Racism was so bad in the south, and in some parts of the north, that blacks began to feel like America was meant to be a white country.
De Bois referred to this as a "double consciousness" (Thomas, 141) Blacks we being thought of by whites as violent brutes. Whites made fun of everything about them from their looks all the way down to their personalities. White power groups like the made it hard for black to "fit in" or go about there daily lives, without being harassed. These are just some of the examples how racism was unfair and unequal to blacks. At the end of reconstruction, racism continued as if it never applied.
My question is how can reconstruction work when you have people like John Tyler Morgan that said "slavery was a custom and it was barbaric not to engage in it". ? (Thomas, 64) It is obvious that he wanted to keep the color line and wanted no part in helping the problem at hand. He thought that the solution to the problem was to send all the blacks back to Africa. (Thomas, 73) Another person that thought whites were the inferior race was Fredric Hoffman. He took measurement comparisons of the skull, chest and lung captivity.
He main study was the lungs. He found that whites had far higher lung captivity, which in theory, made them less prone to disease, and in his eyes, the inferior race. Henry Field said blacks have not achieved anything, and they are stuck in mediocrity level of society. (Thomas, 102). Field denies social equality in the north, and admits to the color line. He feels that this is natural.
The Plessey vs. Furguson case on May 18, 1896 was about the state of Louisiana that passed an act stating that rail road carriages were to have separate cars for black and whites (Thomas, 41) This was an issue of state vs. federal power. After three amendments, and 12 years of reconstruction some people still believed that septet but equal was necessary. The United States Supreme Court ruled the Louisiana state law separating whites and blacks as a constructional law. Responses to the decision were limited because many news papers chose to neglect the issue, and the ones that did give the case press, didn't give it much.
The "Republican" had one good strong comment that said, "Did the southerners ever pause to indict the almighty for allowing the black man to be born on the same earth as the white man? We fear it was the one great mistake in creation not to provide every race they own earth". (Thomas, 131) I think that the only thing that reconstruction proved was that it is not possible to change some ones mind easy when it is such a controversial issue. The biggest reason that reconstruction failed, was for this countries reluctance to continue to fowled its goal of reconstruction the nation to provide political and civil equality for blacks (Thomas, 10) It seems that the failure of reconstruction points to racism. It is sad that Plessey decision was even an issue in this country.
The word "Racism" has brought up a lot of issues in the past. It is sad to say, with all of this evidence, and all the facts, racism is still an issue today.