History Sample Paper on American Civil Wars And Reconstruction

American Civil Wars And Reconstruction

Historical interpretations are a recipe for assessing the outcome of the American civil war between the north and the south and the subsequent reconstruction of the southern part of America. Individual historians hold diverse views concerning civil wars and the reconstruction of the south. The idea of reconstruction has different perceptions from various historians and the time in which they lived. Historical interpretation of reconstruction keeps changing because different views are brought to the field hence building on the already existing facts about reconstruction. This paper will discuss the Dredd Scott decision, the outcome of the war between the north and the south, emancipation and the reconstruction of the south.

Dred Scott decision partly catalyzed the American civil war in the 1860s. Dred who was a slave working in a plantation moved to court seeking his freedom from slavery by his masters. The sitting chief justice Roger Taney declined Scott’s request and ruled that “a negro, whose ancestors were imported into the United States, and sold as slaves”  were not American citizens and therefore they had no rights to sue. [1]The decision angered the negro African races and catalyzed the American civil war where the northern part fought with the southern region. Union`s victory against the South prompted reconstruction proclamation by the then President Lincoln who wanted to rebuild the south. This would not happen as he was assassinated a few hours later.

In reaction to President Lincoln’s proclamation against “bloody grounds,” many blacks were freed Confederate form states in 1863 and subsequently recruited in the union. [2]Emancipation declaration by the president brought a lot of changes in the lives of African-Americans because it pioneered social revolution and helped the blacks achieve a status in the United States.

In 1865 President Johnson declared his tactics and determination for reconstruction. After Lincoln`s death, the new administration under President Andrew Johnson legislated “black codes” that monitored the behavior and labor of African-Americans and former slaves. This presidential reconstruction approach angered the north because they claim that it led to the superiority of the Republican party which was much radical at that time. The radical reconstruction led to many Africans being accommodated in government positions in 1867. However, the radical reconstruction did not last for a decade since the Ku Klux Klan brought the conservative revolution that restored white domination against the black in the United States. He personally believed in unionism and rights of state self-governance. According to the president, the southern states had the right to self-governance. The president redistributed the land that was taken away by the union army to the original owners. The 13th constitutional amendment stipulated for the abolition of slavery. Consequently, from self-governance, the states legislated black codes that moderated the African behavior and their availability as a means of labor. The black codes brought outrage to the northern legislators who questioned president’s veto powers. This lead to his impeachment in 1868 and the civil rights act which was the first law from presidential veto.

During the radical Reconstruction, the southern states were required to harmonize the 14th amendment so that it expands the definition of America citizenship and grants equal protection to the citizens. This led to the 15th amendment which assures all citizens the right to vote regardless of color, race, or past historical conditions. In the year 1870, previous Confederate states were registered to the union. Major constitutional amendments were a significant contribution to the freedom of the African Americans. The reconstruction involved the rights of the African-American to participate in public life. This was an important development in radical reconstruction in American history. During the period,  several African-Americans won state elections and the United States Congress elections. Additionally, the period witnessed the first public school funded by the government in the south. This is unlike in the civil wars where the blacks saw increased segregation from public places such as markets, schools,  transport, accommodation, and hospitals. Furthermore, significant legislations in taxations, racial discrimination, and economic empowerment were also evident in this period.

Radical reconstruction gradually waned after 1867 when a majority of whites in the southern region resorted to violence in reaction to the increased revolutionary changes brought by the radical reconstruction. [3]Specifically, the Ku Klux Klan directed their resentment to Republican leaders in their supremacy battles. The group championed for the restoration of white superiority in the United States. This brought a rise in racism from both the north and the south as a result of reconstruction.

In conclusion, historical reconstruction serves as a platform where the modern world is supposed to base their decisions. Major historical events that take place in the past have helped shape the current world in a great deal. Historical interpretation of reconstructions acts as a constant reminder of how a change of policies is marred by endless suffering and determination by the elite to defend the afflicted. Historical reconstruction helps modern historians to acknowledge the contribution of prejudice in hampering major policies that might bring changes to the modern world. Nevertheless, the American civil war serves as a stepping stone for many historians who want to explore the past American history.


Glatthaar, Joseph T. The American Civil War. 4, 4. 2014. Oxford: Osprey Publishing.

Hollitz, John Erwin. Thinking Through the Past. Volume II Volume II. 2014. Australia: Wadsworth.

Mackey, Thomas C. A Documentary History of the American Civil War Era. Vol. 4, Vol. 4. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2014

[1]Mackey, Thomas C. A Documentary History of the American Civil War Era. Vol. 4, Vol. 4. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2014.

[2]Hollitz, John Erwin. Thinking Through the Past. Volume II Volume II. 2014. Australia: Wadsworth.

[3]Glatthaar, Joseph T. The American Civil War. 4, 4. 2014. Oxford: Osprey Publishing.