Hi all, I'm interested in your thoughts about the failure of Reconstruction.
Did it fail because politicians failed to enact realistic principles? From the antebellum period to the end of reconstruction, there were a number of examples of this including the Compromise of 1850, Lecompton Constitution, Crittenden Compromise, and the Breakdown of the political party system. A whole string of broken initiatives that failed because politicians had to compromise. I think two of the finest examples would be the Compromise of 1850 and the breakdown of the political party system.
Also maybe the failure was do to the flawed ideology? There were two views of Reconstruction...the idealistic and the realistic.
We know idealists are futurists, non-conformists, and they dream about what could be. The idealistic view was that blacks would be accepted into the old south and be given the same rights as everyone else. Also, ideally, southerners would embrace change and everything would be fine in the south. From this point of view, blacks had waited too long for the same rights as whites and they should not have to wait any longer.
The realistic view is much different. Realists take the practical approach, accept things "as is", follow society's norms and grounded in reality. Southerners weren't used to this sudden change of lifestyle which was being forced on them. The south was divided into military districts, forced to change their laws and their culture, and it did not go over well. From the southerners point of view, they weren't ready for this to be forced down their throats overnight.
Did reconstruction fail because it was based on idealistic and not realistic principles? Was it a pipe dream? If they had tried to do it realistically, it means the Republicans/North would have had to actually take a step back and NOT force radical reconstruction, rather it would have had to be done over time.
Also, what events of the Antebellum to Reconstruction period give us an idea that the way Reconstruction was done just couldn't have worked?