HIS 204 – American History Since 1865
Were the goals of Radical Reconstruction feasible ones?
The major goal of passing the 13th Amendments that was to allow 4 million slaves’ freedom and was one of the goals of the radical reconstruction under the advanced policies of President Lincoln and President Johnson. The reconstruction begun from 1865 to 1877 that involved the federal will that brought the south in submission and protected the African American civil rights. This was one of the feasible one; the reconstruction was important to reunify the country and to establish the first constitutional steps for equality of white and black citizens to live equally. Reconstruction was the way for a better change and the most important change made to the Constitution since the Bill of Rights, and the states has provided equal protection under the law to all the citizens.
Is it possible to transform a society drastically by government action, or might attempts to do so prove counterproductive?
The transformation is a gradual process; it is a fact that change does not just happen overnight. It was the right thing to do, the implementation of the amendments. Nothing has changed if the government never made any action. However, not everyone might have agreed with the Reconstruction people followed suit, it upholds the law the people has respected as it has put in place. As President Johnson said, “I am right. I know I am right, and I am damned if I do not adhere to it” .
Would a more gradualist approach to extending rights to and establishing freedom for African Americans have been more successful?
With its proper time, the gradual approach of the extension of the rights of the African American has taken place, gained equal rights accordingly. However, it would be more successful if it happened early or slavery has never gone that long.
What would be the costs and dangers of such an approach?
Evidently, this gradual approach would lead to more sacrifices economically, politically, and socially.
United States Congress. (1866, April 9). Civil Rights Act. Retrieved from Retrieved from
Kunhardt, P., Kunhardt, P. III., & Steiner, N. (Producers). (2002). What is Freedom? [Series
Episode] from P. Kinhardt & S. Sheppard (Executive Producers) Freedom: A History of US. United States: PBS. Retrieved from http://digital.films.com/OnDemandEmbed.aspx?Token=44253&aid=18596&Plt=FOD&loid=0&w=640&h=480&ref=