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American Radical Republicans of Civil War Reconstruction

This essay compares and contrasts the different factions of the Republican party in America after the Civil War.

The first part addresses the role of a Radical Republican Senator and argues their position during Reconstruction. How did they handle the challenges of rebuilding the U.S.? The second goal is to assume the role of a moderate Republican and argue their position on the same issues. How did these moderates handle the challenges of Reconstruction? Finally, did Reconstruction fail? If so, what caused that failure?

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America was divided in many ways after the Civil War. The emotional burden facing the nation in the 1860s overwhelmed leaders, citizens, freed slaves, and Southerners trying to figure out what to make of their devastated society. The healing process was wrapped up in the physical rebuilding of a war torn land.

The philosophies of post-war America are sometimes broken down into the three Rs: Reconstruction, Restoration, and Redemption. Each of these words conveys an idea of how certain people viewed the rebuilding process. Like demolishing a house and starting over, reconstruction indicates a more radical process than restoration, simply fixing up something that's been worn down. The leaders in 1865 and beyond didn't even agree on what needed to be done to the country let alone how to do it. Should they tear the South down and totally rebuild or was a more subtle approach useful in fixing the broken nation?

After the Civil War, the South was left with no economic or political power as well as no sense of equality. Some angry Southerners preached redemption, a reclaiming of the way things were, a continual defense of slavery and inequality, and a driving force behind the newly created Ku Klux Klan. Since those states seceded (left the Union) they had to be readmitted. Republican leaders differed over what requirements the Southern states needed to meet in order to regain ...

Solution Summary

The goal of this essay is to explain the political battles within the Republican party and against the Democrats in the United States following the Civil War by clearly explaining the various ideas and philosophies of the time about what America should become.