Slave labor in the south was quite predominant and characterized with ruthless impersonality. Master-slave relationship was the prevailing relationship among the slave trade and in plantation farm, in the south (Martin, 2004). Slave labor in the upper south was less intensified due to small plantations. Similarly, the slaves were allowed to have presentable livelihood, and they were allowed to marry and live in towns. However, in the lower south, the plantations were large, and in turn, the slaves had a lot of work to do. The slaves were ill fed, ill housed, and poorly cared for. The reconstruction of the south was a greater step in the enhancement of, black American, freedoms and restructuring of the southern government. However, it was met with mixed feelings and reactions, with the white folks developing fears that they would lose their farms to blacks, and the blacks had hopes of gaining freedom and equal rights.
History could have been different if the ex-slaves were given plantations and means of farming them, as it is evident that the ex-slaves were bitter, full of anger and resentments attributed to plethora of factors they faced during the slave era. This psychological crisis could have amounted to revenge and tension among the white. This was a clear indication that the dominance of the Black in the south could have led to significance change in the culture and political structure of the south, thence changing the history. According Soos (n.d), the ex-slaves had different perceptions and explanation of freedom. They sought for absolute freedom from white control. Freed men and women wanted to establish their own churches and schools, and other social institutions, with greater facets of freedom of movement and speech, attributed by legalized marriage, family reunions, and making free decision. Mostly important was to seek justice in the southern land. Allocation and redistribution of land could have facilitated this, and, on the other hand, it could have changed the face of history, since, steps to attain equality could have been achieved.
The reconstruction procedure was faced with many difficulties, which included the lack of the constitution to address the legal and rightful procedures to be followed. After Lincoln’s death, President Johnson appeased the southern efforts to regain and restore the white supremacy. He offered generous amnesty to all the southerners, which amounted to restoration of the southern state of government (Friedheim & Jackson, 1996). In line with this, black codes discriminatory was enacted and it resutled to old comrades filling the new congress. President Johnson also ensured that the confiscated lands were returned to the owners who were pardoned. This series of actions made it impossible for the congress and government to act out the land distribution plan to the ex-slaves. In light with this, the republican who controlled the reconstruction government in the south were highly divided over the issue of land confiscation and distribution (Friedheim & Jackson, 1996). The supporters of land confiscation and redistribution- radical republicans- and opposers of the land seizure were also aware that congress could not readmit states with the constitutions that provided the for land distribution after the termination of the Stevens bill. As a result, none of the new state constitutions addressed the issue of land redistribution, thence making it difficult to implement the program (Friedheim & Jackson, 1996).
Concisely, the land distribution plan had a fundamental problem that made it difficult to be carried in significant scale. The initial owners of the lands were angry and were highly affected by the outcome of the war. Hence, this made it impossible for the government to enact the program for fear of another war.
Friedheim, W. & Jackson, R. (1996). Freedom’s unfinished revolution: an inquiry into the Civil War and Reconstruction. New York, NY: American Social History Productions, Inc.
Martin, D. J. (2004). Divided Mastery: Slave Hiring in the American South. Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.
Soos, J. (n. d). The Freedmen’s Bureau: Success or Failure? Introduction & National History Standards. Retrieved from http://www.umbc.edu/che/tahlessons/pdf/The_Freedmens_Bureau_Success_or_Failure%28PrinterFriendly%29.pdf