Success or Failure?
The main goal of Reconstruction was to bring the rebel states back into the Union, and to help the African American slaves become a part of society. There was a lot of abuse, and Reconstruction didn't go as smoothly as it was planned to be, these two goals were achieved as much as was possible. I believe that reconstruction was a total failure.
Reconstruction was lacking by the political differences of the people who were trying to design it. Some people wanted the rebel states to be punished, and the freed slaves to be given an equal part in civilization. Others wanted the rebel states returned to the Union without consequences, and gave small thought to the destiny of the former slaves. Of course, there were a lot of opinions in between and some completely outside this framework. The inability of Congress, the President, and the different states to agree on a plan, hurt it severely. The basic goal of reconstruction, returning the South to the Union was achieved, however efforts towards creating equality, and maintaining civil rights for African-Americans while initially successful, proved to be difficult to achieve. Lincoln first planned the 10% plan, which offered a nice way for Southern States to return to the Union. But, once Lincoln was murdered, Andrew Johnson, a previous owner of slaves, became president and wanted his own plan for Reconstruction. Though his plan initially worked, former Confederates eventually worked their way into the government and were selected for the United States Congress. The Republican-dominated Congress declined to seat these Southerners. Besides, even the Republican Party itself was on bad terms. Moderates and conservatives wanted the South to be freely admitted back into the Union. These Republicans also wanted more improvements than those Johnson was giving. At the same time, Radical Republicans wanted extreme change. The tensions in the Republican Party, and the...