After slavery ended the Reconstruction period begin, a period that many historians say was one of the most important times in U.S. history. This period of time is when freed African Americans began to be treated as humans, not like animals. But when Abe Lincoln was assassinated his vice president didn’t have the same viewpoints and the Reconstruction period began to come to what most people think of this time period, a time period when the U.S. had to finally deal with it’s innermost problem. Slaves. From the viewpoint of a freed African American, Reconstruction was a mediate failure because throughout the Reconstruction period the freedmen did receive aid from the U.S. Army and Amendments were made to help them but overall discrimination was still there and the KKK and the Jim Crow laws were made to treat the blacks as second class citizens.
The good thing about Reconstruction was during the beginning the freed slaves could depend on the U.S. for support and aid. The task of giving aid and protecting African Americans was given to the Bureau of Freedman. “All of the officers of the bureau were directed to investigate these difficulties between the two classes, [and] to settle them…. As much as possible, to punish light offences by fines, and to report more serious cases of crime to the military authorities.” This shows that the Blacks could depend on the U.S. for protection and that the U.S. was working to improve the community. Another way the government provided help was actually coming to plantations and explaining rules. From the documents of the Freedmen’s Bureau, they state, “Our Officers have been of great help in this matter. They have visited plantations to explain the difference between slave and free labor. They have also explained how contracts work.” This shows that there willing to get their hands dirty and make change happen.
After the change of the President all aid that was being given stopped. There was no longer protection and the Whites could do whatever they wanted. A hate group called the KKK rose to power and began to terrorize blacks with threats and rules. Their goal was to scare blacks and to cancel out their votes during elections and if black didn’t follow what the KKK said to do, their life was at stake. The government interviewed a KKK member and they said, “My opinion is that the purpose was to break down the Reconstruction acts; that they were dissatisfied with negro suffrage and the reconstruction [sic] measures and everybody that was in favor of them.” This explains the goal of the KKK and that their intentions were harmful. Late in the document, it is shown that they are fulfilling their goal and harm is being done. “Well, in my section of the country, the colored people are afraid now and have been for some time, to turn out at an election. They are afraid to say much, or to have anything to do with public affairs.” Now that the blacks have a say in who is voted in for the government the KKK don’t like this and are not letting blacks vote. Overall the KKK was created to degrade the Blacks and to not let them have the rights of a first-class citizen.
Another thing that the Whites did to separate themselves from Blacks was, they created Jim Crow laws. Unlike the KKK the Jim Crow laws were approved by the government and as long the blacks had something similar to the whites the government was fine. “Jim Crow was more than a series of rigid anti-black laws. It was a way of life. Under Jim Crow, African Americans were relegated to the status of second-class citizens. Jim Crow represented the legitimization of anti-black racism.” This definition sums up the Jim Crow laws, but the Jim Crow laws even effected who blacks could play checkers with or how to have a conversation with a white person. So the Jim Crow laws were another way to keep segragation and if these rules weren’t followed like the KKK rules Blacks could be killed. So because the government didn’t care about the amendments the whites were able to create these rules
Overall from the view of a Freedman reconstruction was great in the beginning because the government was participating in making life for a former slave better. The government’s acts include creating amendments, giving aid and protection, schools being created, and jobs in the government being open to blacks. But as soon as Abraham Lincoln died everything that was happening stopped. The Blacks became vulnerable to attacks of the whites, rules could be created and the Blacks didn’t have a choice of following these rules. To conclude, the Reconstruction period was a failure because at the end of it the same problem was still there. The only thing that changed was that Blacks weren’t slaves.